Pac-12 leaders UCLA, USC head to Bay Area for tough road tilts
By the Pac-12 Conference
Rivalry games between Washington and Washington State, and Oregon and Oregon State tip off the television schedule this week. All four matchups will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks beginning on Tuesday night. In addition, current league-leaders No. 14/15 UCLA and USC head to the Bay Area to face top-10 foes California and Stanford. All three of those matchups will be televised on the Networks, with Sunday's clash between the Bruins and Golden Bears airing on ESPNU. Check local listings for times and Networks. Authenticated subscribers can also watch all Pac-12 Networks games online at pac-12.com or on the Pac-12 Now app.
The Pac-12 has four teams ranked in the top-25 again this week with Stanford pacing the league at No. 6 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. California is ranked No. 7/7, followed by UCLA at No. 14/15 and Colorado at No. 21/25. The Buffaloes reentered the coaches rankings this week after spending last week just outside the top-25.
UCLA's Atonye Nyingifa was voted the Pac-12 Player of the Week, while Oregon State's Jamie Weisner was tabbed the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week.
The Trojans are off to their best start in Conference play since 2004-05, while the Bruins are 3-1 in games vs. ranked opponents so far this season. Meanwhie, Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne is going for her 300th-career win this week as the team heads to Utah and Colorado. She would become just the third coach in Pac-12 history to reach the milestone.
Oregon's Jillian Alleyne (15.3 ppg, 13.1 rpg), Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike (21.4 ppg, 11.6 rpg) and Cal's Gennifer Brandon (12.1 ppg, 10.3 rpg) are three of just 36 players in NCAA Division I women's basketball averaging a double-double on the season. Several Pac-12 players figured prominently in the national statistical rankings, including Alleyne, who ranks third in rebounding and Ogwumike, who ranks fourth in double-doubles (11.0). She ranks in the top-10 in the nation in three statistical categories.
The NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) was released this week, and three Pac-12 teams are in the top 15. Stanford's RPI is tops in the country for the second-straight week, while Cal is No. 5 and UCLA is No. 14. For the full list of Pac-12 team RPIs, see page 6. For the full RPI listing, visit ncaa.com.
Tuesday, January 15
Washington State at Washington…..P12N…..6 p.m. PT
Oregon State at Oregon…..P12N…..8 p.m. PT
Thursday, January 17
USC at #7/7 California…..P12N…..6 p.m. PT
Friday, January 18
Arizona at Utah…..P12N…..7 p.m. MT
Arizona State at Colorado…..Live Stream…..7 p.m. MT
#14/15UCLA at #6/6 Stanford…..P12N…..8 p.m. PT
Sunday, January 20
#14/15 UCLA at #6/6 California…..ESPNU…..12:30 p.m. PT
Arizona at #21/25 Colorado…..Live Stream…..2 p.m. MT
Oregon at Oregon State…..P12N…..2 p.m. PT
Washington at Washington State…..P12N…..2 p.m. PT
Arizona State at Utah…..Live Stream…..3 p.m. MT
USC at #6/6 Stanford……P12N…..4 p.m. PT
* game times local to site. Live stream of games are available at pac-12.com.
P12N indicates live broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks, pac-12.com and the Pac-12 Now app.
PAC-12 TEAM NOTES
Despite being without the services of the team's second-leading scorer JR Kama Griffitts (11.5 ppg), the Wildcats went 1-1 last week, including a 100-point game in a win vs. Oregon. JR G Carissa Crutchfield dished out 11 assists in the win. She is one of five players in the Pac-12 to have 10 or more assists. Head coach Niya Butts has led the Wildcats to a winning record in non-conference play in each of her five seasons at the helm in Tucson. SR G Davellyn Whyte is the Pac-12's active career leader in points (1,798) and is in the top-25 in all-time scoring in the league.
Arizona State, which improved to 6-2 at home with victories over the Oregon schools last weekend, has not lost at Wells Fargo Arena since December 2. The Sun Devils have won nine of their last 12 contests, six of those wins coming by double-digit margins. During that stretch, ASU has registered 15 or more assists on nine occasions—the Sun Devils' 14.7 assists per game this season rank second in the Conference. Head coach Charlie Turner Thorne needs one more win to become the third coach in Pac-12 history to reach 300 victories at a Conference institution.
Ranked seventh this week, the Golden Bears snapped Stanford's 81-game winning streak vs. Pac-12 teams (including postseason games). Cal's win at Maples was the first for a Pac-12 team since 2007, as the Bears limited Stanford to just 55 points, the Cardinal's lowest scoring output at home since 1987. Cal's only losses of the season have been to teams that are ranked in the top 10 in the country. Cal leads the Pac-12 and ranks third in the country in rebounding margin (+12.6). They are 3-2 against ranked opponents so far this season.
The Buffaloes improved to 4-0 in true road games with a victory over Utah on Sunday, marking the first time since 2002-03 that a Colorado squad has won four-consecutive road tilts to open a season. SR G Chucky Jeffery, the Pac-12's active leader in career assists (418), ranks fifth in the league in dishes per game this season (4.3). She has tallied at least one assist in 57-straight contests and in 106 of 108 career games. FR F Arielle Roberson, who has scored in double-figures in all but one game this year, ranks eighth in the Pac-12 (second among freshmen) in scoring (14.1 ppg). Colorado is 12-0 this season when leading at the half.
The Ducks have had to contend with a thin roster most of the season, due, in large part, to injuries to several players. However, in the last few weeks, Oregon appears to be its healthiest since the season began, with the addition of SO F Liz Brenner, an All-American volleyball player who helped the Ducks volleyball team advance to the NCAA Championship game in December. In a pair of losses over the weekend, Brenner was one rebound short of back-to-back double doubles. FR F Jillian Alleyne leads the Pac-12 and is third in the country in rebounding (13.1). She also ranks seventh in the league averaging 15.3 ppg.
FR G Jamie Weisner was named the Pac-12 Player of thee Week after leading OSU to a weekend split against the Arizona schools. The Beavers rank second in the Pac-12 and 23rd in the nation in field goal percentage defense (34.1) and have held 14 of 16 opponents under 40 percent shooting from the floor this season. They held CS Fullerton to 19.1 percent from the field (13-68), the program's best single-game mark in more than a decade. OSU leads the Pac-12 and ranks eighth in the nation in blocked shots, averaging 6.0 stuffs per game. SR F Patricia Bright, the Conference's second-leading career shot-blocker, has registered 28 rejections this season to rank third in the league.
The Cardinal had its 81-game winning streak vs. Pac-12 opponents (including postseason games) snapped by No. 7 California on Sunday. It was also the first time since 2007 Stanford had lost to a league opponent on its home court. The Cardinal took the first game in the Battle of the Bay with a come-from-behind win over California at Haas Pavilion. Stanford leads the Pac-12 in five statistical categories, including scoring defense (52.8 ppg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.08). Its 12.4 turnovers per game rank fourth nationally, and it also ranks in the top 10 in the country in field goal percentage defense (31.8, 5th) and field goal percentage (47.4 pct., 6th). The Cardinal is led by Preseason All-American Chiney Ogwumike, who leads the Pac-12 and ranks ninth in the nation in points per game (21.4), and is second in the league and eighth in the NCAA in rebounding (11.6). The loss to Cal at Maples, marks its first home defeat to the Bears since 2001.
The Bruins, winners of six-straight games, will put the Conference's longest active winning streak on the line this weekend as they travel to take on No. 6/6 Stanford and No. 7/7 California. UCLA owns a 3-1 record against ranked opponents this season, with each of its three victories coming on the road. The Bruins lead the Pac-12 and rank in the top-25 in the nation in assists (16.8 apg), steals (12.2 spg) and scoring offense (73.3 ppg). SR F Markel Walker ranks 16th in the country with 3.47 spg and is also the Conference's assist leader, dishing out 5.6 apg. Jr. G Thea Lemberger leads the league in 3-point FG percentage, connecting on 17-of-42 (.405) from downtown.
The Trojans are 4-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2004-05 and share the league lead this week. Their current win streak snapped a six-game losing skid, the team's longest since the 2000-01 season. JR F Cassie Harberts, who averaged 11.9 ppg and 6.2 rpg in 2011-12, has been outstanding for USC, averaging 17.9 ppg and 7.9 rpg in 2012-13. She has been even better since Pac-12 play began, averaging 21.3 ppg and 9.3 rpg. Harberts was named Pac-12 Player of the Week on Jan. 7.
Utah ranks sixth in the country in turnovers per game, committing just 12.7 per contest this season. Defensively, the Utes have held opponents to 55.1 points per game—a figure that ranks third in the Conference— and have allowed 55 points or fewer seven times. Against Houston Baptist, Utah allowed a season-low 33 points, the lowest scoring output by any Pac-12 opponent. The Utes, who played ranked opponents in each of their first four league games, lead the Pac-12 in 3-point FG percentage, shooting .337 (91-270).
SO G Jazmine Davis scored 37 points at USC, the sixth-highest total in school history and six points away from the school record set in 2003, but it was not enough as the Huskies claimed a pair of setbacks in LA. UW opened Conference play at 2-0 for the first time since the 2006-07 season, posting wins in Arizona in the opening weekend before falling to USC and UCLA over the weekend. SO F Aminah Williams ranks 11th in the NCAA with 11.4 rpg. The Huskies lead the Pac-12 in turnover margin (+4.87)
Washington State ranks eighth in the country in 3-point FG percentage defense, limiting opponents to just 23.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc. SR C Carly Noyes blocked a pair of shots in losses to USC and UCLA over the weekend (a week after blocking a career-high-tying five shots against Arizona State) to move her into a tie atop WSU's all-time block list (147). The Pac-12's active leader in career rejections, she ranks ninth in the Conference with 1.4 blocks per game this season. The Cougars posted their first win over a ranked opponent since 2001, taking down Ohio State on Dec. 15, 62-55. WSU also topped Gonzaga for the first time since 2001, and the victory marked its first over the Bulldogs in Spokane since 1997.