This week in Pac-12 women's basketball
By the Pac-12 Conference
Three Pac-12 teams are still undefeated this week and are among the 19 Division I teams still left unbeaten through December 2. The Utes are off to their best start since the 2000-01 campaign ... Stanford is the No. 1 team in the country, according to the Associated Press poll for the third straight week. California is ranked No. 11 and UCLA is tied for 17th ... Several Pac-12 players figure prominently in the NCAA statistics with Oregon's Jillian Alleyne leading the nation in rebounding average (14.8) and Utah's Iwalani Rodrigues boasting the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the country (4.6). Alleyene broke the Pac-12's single-game rebounding record in her second-collegiate game, grabbing 27 rebounds ... The Ute's Taryn Wicijowski was voted the Pac-12 Player of the Week, while Colorado's Arielle Roberson was selected the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week for the third time this season.
Three Teams Remain Unbeaten: Three Pac-12 teams are still undefeated and are among the 19 still undefeated teams remaining in Division I. Top-ranked Stanford is 8-0, Utah is 7-0 - the best start to the season for the Utes since 2000-01 - and Colorado is 6-0.
NCAA Statistical Leaders: Several Pac-12 players figure prominently in the national statistical rankings. Utah's Iwalani Rodrigues leads the nation in assist/turnover ratio (4.6) -- teammate Danielle Rodriguez ranks second in assist/turnover ratio (4.4) -- while Oregon's Jillian Alleyne is the nation's leading rebounder (14.8 rpg). Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike has collected six double-doubles to tie for the lead in Division I, and Utah's Taryn Wicijowski ranks second in field goal percentage (66.7). UCLA's Markel Walker's 4.2 steals per game rank fifth nationally.
Who's No. 1?: After knocking off the then-No. 1 team in the nation and defending NCAA Champion Baylor in Hawai'i on Nov. 17, Stanford was ranked No. 1 on Nov. 19 and have remained there for three weeks. The Cardinal earned top billing for the first time since March of 2005. It was also the last time a Pac-12 team was ranked in the No. 1 spot in the polling. The Cardinal are ranked No. 1 again this week in both polls.
Three Pac-12 Teams Ranked: With UCLA's upset over then-No. 11 Oklahoma on Nov. 14, the Bruins became the third Pac-12 team ranked in the polls on Nov. 19. Three Pac-12 teams are ranked again this week in the AP poll - No. 1 Stanford, No. 11 California and No. 17 UCLA. The Nov. 19 was the first time three league teams were ranked since 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 still a young 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.
Duck Breaks Record: Oregon freshman F Jillian Alleyne registered 27 rebounds in a double-overtime loss to Portland State Nov. 15 establishing a new league standard for rebounds in what was just her second-collegiate game. The 27 boards bested the previous Pac-12 mark set nearly 20 years ago by UCLA's Natalie Williams in 1994. Alleyne's rebounding mark also took down UO's 34-year-old mark that had stood since 1978. Alleyne also scored a school-record tying 38 points in the game. She went on to be named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week.
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.
Offense 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 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.
Wedneday, December 5
Colorado State at Colorado, Live Stream, 5:50 p.m. MT
San Diego State at Washington, 7 p.m. PT
USC at Fresno State, 7 p.m. PT
Friday, December 7
Arizona State at Providence, 7 p.m. ET
#11 California at CSU Bakersfield, 7 p.m. PT
Saturday, December 8
#17 UCLA vs. #12 Texas, 1:30 p.m. CT
at Houston, Texas
Arizona at New Mexico, 2 p.m. MT
BYU at Utah, Live Stream, 3 p.m. MT
Sunday, December 9
Arizona State at Boston College, 1 p.m. ET
Nevada at Oregon Live Stream, 2 p.m. PT
St. Martin's at Oregon State, Live Stream, 2 p.m. PT
* game times local to site. Live stream of games are available at pac-12.com.