Three Pac-12 teams ranked; Stanford is new No. 1
By the Pac-12 Conference
Stanford is the Associated Press' new No. 1 team in the nation. The Cardinal earned the spot after knocking off defending NCAA Champion and then-No. 1 Baylor last week, also snapping the Bears' 42-game winning streak. It is the first time since 2005 that Stanford is ranked No. 1, which is also the last time a Pac-12 team was ranked that high... Three Pac-12 teams are ranked in this week's edition of the media poll. Stanford sits atop the AP rankings, California is No. 11 and UCLA enters the polls for the first time in nearly a year, checking in at No. 19 after posting an upset at then-No. 11 Oklahoma ... Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike was selected as the Pac-12 Player of the Week. She was also tabbed as ESPNW's National Player of the Week. Oregon's Jillian Alleyne was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week after grabbing 27 rebounds in a game last week, breaking the Conference's mark which had stood for nearly two decades ... The first-ever women's basketball game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks this week when both the Bruins and USC host ranked opponents.
Who's No. 1?: After knocking off the then-No. 1 team in the nation and defending NCAA Champion Baylor in Hawai'i, Stanford is the new No. 1, according to the Associated Press poll released on Nov. 19. The Cardinal earn top billing for the first time since March of 2005. It is also the last time a Pac-12 team was ranked in the No. 1 spot in the polling.
Three Pac-12 Teams Ranked: With UCLA's upset over then-No. 11 Oklahoma last week, the Bruins entered the top-25 in this week's Associated Press poll for the first time this season. Three Pac-12 teams are ranked this week in the AP poll - No. 1 Stanford, No. 11 California and No. 19 UCLA. The last time there were three Pac-12 teams ranked was just over a year ago on Nov. 14, 2011, when the Cardinal, the Bruins and USC were all in the top-25 of the AP poll.
Early-Season Upsets: It is just two weeks into the women's basketball season, and a pair of Pac-12 teams have already posted a couple of notable upsets. Stanford knocked off the then-No. 1 team in the nation, defending NCAA Champion Baylor, also snapping the Bears' 42-game winning streak, on Nov. 16. Just a couple days prior, an unranked-UCLA squad traveled to Norman to upset then-No. 11 Oklahoma.
PRESEASON RECOGNITION: Four Pac-12 women's basketball players have received preseason recognition for several prestigious awards.
Junior F Chiney Ogwumike was listed as a preseason candidate for the State Farm/Wade Trophy Award, presented to the national player of the year. In addition, she is a candidate for the John R. Wooden Award and Naismith Award, both are national player of the year honors. Joining Ogwumike on the Wooden preseason candidate list is Senior F Jasmine Dixon. Teammate senior F Markel Walker was named to the Naismith preseason watch list, as was California senior F Layshia Clarendon.
Clarendon is also a preseason candidate for the Senior CLASS Award. The CLASS award honors the outstanding senior NCAA Division I Student-Athlete of the Year across nine different sports.
All-Star Returns: All signs indicate another competitive season as eight of the 15 members of the 2012 All-Pac-12 team return for the 2011-12. In addition, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year (F Chiney Ogwumike, Stanford) and the last two Pac-12 Freshmen of the Year (G Jazmine Davis, Washington and Ogwumike). Also among the returnees are seven of the 11 players named honorable mention all-conference.
Also returning this season are three of the five members of the 2012 Pac-12 All-Defensive team: Ogwumike; F Patricia Bright, Oregon State; and F Chucky Jeffery, Colorado.
OFFENSIVE RETURNS: The Conference returns 10 of last year's top-15 scorers from a year ago. The Pac-12 lost its top scorer from last year in Stanford's Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who was the only player in the league to average more than 20.0 ppg (22.5 ppg). However, the 10 that are back include four who averaged more than 15.0 ppg. Arizona senior G Davellyn Whyte is the top-returning scorer from last year. She tallied 17.0 ppg, ranking second in the league in 2011-12. She has ranked in the top five in the Conference in scoring in each of her seasons as a Wildcat.
ON THE BOARDS: The Pac-12 welcomes back eight of the top-10 rebounders from last season, including UCLA senior F Markel Walker, who led the Conference with 11.0 rebounds per game and was one of three players in the league to average double-digit boards.
The other double-digit rebounder from last year were Stanford junior F Chiney Ogwumike, who was third with 10.1 rpg, and her sister, Nnemkadi, was second with 10.2 rpg. Nnemkadi was the No. 1 draft pick in the WNBA.
FAMILIAR FACES: For the first time since 2006-07, every Pac-12 head coach returns to lead their respective teams. Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne took a hiatus last season, but has been at the Sun Devils helm for 15 seasons prior to last year and has coached or recruited the current squad.
The Pac-12 has a mix of veteran and young coaches. Leading the way is 10-time Pac-12 John R. Wooden Coach of the Year Tara VanDerveer who is in her 27th season at Stanford and 34th overall. Pac-12 coaches average 6.2 years of experience in the Pac-12 and 11.5 years overall in collegiate basketball (does not include Cooper's and Westhead's tenure at the professional level, but includes Westhead's experience as a collegiate men's coach).
ROAD TO NEW ORLEANS GOES THROUGH THE PAC-12: For teams looking to get to New Orleans for the NCAA Final Four, they may have to go through Pac-12 country. Two league schools were awarded first- and second-round sites for the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship, and one other is hosting a regional.
Colorado will host on the opening weekend of tournament action on March 23 and 25 at the Coors Events Center. Stanford will also host a first- and second-round at Maples Pavilion on March. 24 and 26. Visit each schools' athletic websites for ticket information. Should either team earn a postseason bid, they would play their opening-round games at their home site.
Additionally, Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena arena will serve as a regional site, with the NCAA Sweet Sixteen slated for March 30 and the NCAA Elite Eight taking place April 1. Washington State is playing host.
The Final Four is slated to be held on April 7 and 9 at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, La.
Monday, November 19
Cal Poly at #11 California, Live Stream, 5 p.m. PT
Tuesday, November 20
BYU at Arizona, Live Stream, 11 a.m. MT
Oregon State vs. UC Santa Barbara (1) , 11 a.m. PT
Northern Colorado at Utah, Live Stream, 7 p.m. MT
Wednesday, November 21
Washington at Wisconsin, 7 p.m. CT
Arkansas State at USC, Live Stream, 7 p.m. PT
Oregon State vs. Mississippi State/Winthrop (1), TBA
Thursday, November 22
Oregon State vs. TBD (1), TBA
Friday, November 23
#5 Notre Dame at #19 UCLA, P12N, 12 p.m. PT
Arizona State vs. Northern Iowa (5), 12 p.m. PT
Eastern Washington at #11 California (3), Live Stream, 1 p.m. PT
Arizona vs. UTEP (2), 4 p.m. ET
#23 Nebraska at USC, P12N, 2 p.m. PT
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Colorado (6), Live Stream, 7:30 p.m. MT
Oregon at Hawai'i (4), 4:30 p.m. HT
Saturday, November 24
Texas Southern vs. Arizona (2), 2:30 p.m. ET
CS Fullerton/Georgetown at #11 California (3), Live Stream, 1 p.m./3:15 p.m. PT
Utah at Weber State, 2 p.m. MT
Arizona State vs. NC State (5), 2:30 p.m. PT
BYU at Washington State, 3 p.m. PT
Auburn/San Diego State at Colorado (6), Live Stream, 5/7:30 p.m. MT
Oregon vs. #13 Oklahoma (4) , 2 p.m. HT
Sunday, November 25
Arizona State vs. Florida (5), 12 p.m. PT
Princeton at #19 UCLA, Live Stream, 1 p.m. PT
Long Beach State at #1 Stanford, Live Stream, 2 p.m. PT
Oregon vs. Arkansas (4), 12 p.m. HT