This week in Pac-12 women's basketball
Fourth-ranked STANFORD leads the Pac-12 as the only team boasting an unblemished league record. The Cardinal is riding a 16-game winning streak as it welcomes UCLA on Friday and will be featured on ESPN2’s Big Monday when it takes on USC ... In addition to Stanford, earning rankings this week are ARIZONA STATE and CALIFORNIA. After starting the season unranked, the Sun Devils are up to No. 14 in the Associated Press poll this week and No. 23 in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches poll. The Golden Bears are No. 19 in the writers’ poll and No. 16 in the coaches’ ranking. The Cardinal is coming in at No. 4 in both pollings ... A full slate of games are scheduled for the Pac-12 Networks again this week, beginning with three contests on Friday evening with a full day of action slated for Sunday ... This week, both ASU and WASHINGTON STATE are looking to match its Conference win total from all of last season as they each hit the road to Colorado and Utah, and Oregon and Oregon State, respectively. The Sun Devils already have more overall wins than all of last season, while the Cougs have equaled its overall win total from last season ... OREGON continues to lead the nation in scoring, averaging 96.5 points per game, over 35.0 ppg more than last season. SO F Jillian Alleyne is the country’s leader in rebounding average (14.7 rpg) and double-doubles (15). Teammate Chrishae Rowe is the nation’s highest-scoring freshman, averaging 21.5 ppg, ranking 22nd among all NCAA Division I women’s basketball players ... USC’s Cassie Harberts was voted the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Player of the Week after helping the Women of Troy become the first men’s or women’s team to reach 100 points at the Galen Center. WASHINGTON’s Kelsey Plum was the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week for the fourth time this season.
ARIZONA (4-13, 0-6)
RS JR guard Candice Warthen is back for the Wildcats this season after sitting out all of last season due to injury. It is a welcome return as she leads the Wildcats in scoring (11.9), assists (2.8) and steals (1.5) ... However , UA has been without SR F Alli Gloyd because of a season-ending injury suffered at the start of the 2013-14 campaign. She was one of only two Wildcats to start every game last year ... Though UA is trying to get out of a losing streak, it has not been without trying. Nine of its losses have been by 10 points or less, including four of its six Pac-12 setbacks ... Arizona closed the non-conference season with three-straight victories, defeating Texas Tech, 65-56, on Dec. 15 to jump start the win streak.
ARIZONA STATE (15-3, 4-2)
After starting the season unranked, the Sun Devils have made their way up to No. 14 this week in the Associated Press poll, their highest ranking since Dec. 21, 2009 ... ASU already has more wins than all of last season and is one league victory away from matching its Conference win total from a year ago ... ASU’s 11-1 start to the season was the team’s best since 1986-87, including wins over ranked teams - No. 11 North Carolina and No. 20 Syracuse ... ASU has vastly improved its scoring this season, averaging nearly 17.0 ppg better than a year ago. Among the team’s reasons for the improvement is the team’s shooting percentage. The Sun Devils shot just 38.6 percent last year and are shooting at a 44.3 percent clip ... ASU’s success can also be attributed to its balanced scoring, as five players are averaging at least 8.0 ppg. RS-SR G Deja Mann leads the way with 11.1 ppg after missing all of last season because of injury ... Eight of ASU’s wins have come when it was either trailing or ahead by only one point at some point in the last five minutes of regulation.
CALIFORNIA (13-4, 5-1)
The Golden Bears have been ranked all season and two of their four losses have been to teams ranked opponents, including three against opponents ranked in the top three at the time of the meeting ... After playing in just the first two games of the season (for a total of 34 minutes), Cal welcomed back national player of the year candidate Gennifer Brandon, who scored her 1,000th-career point in an overtime win over Oregon ... In Brandon’s absence, JR F Reshanda Gray has been a tremendous force for the Bears, averaging a team-best 16.7 ppg, more than double her scoring average from last year and over 2.0 rpg better than last year. She has also been a starter in every game this season, compared to just one game last year. She has been even better since league play began, averaging 18.8 ppg and 9.0 rpg ... Cal has won 19-consecutive regular season Conference games dating back to last season, before falling at Arizona State, for its first league loss.
COLORADO (11-6, 1-5)
Colorado reeled off nine wins in a row to start the season, but have suffered four setbacks in the last six games, three of which were to top-25 foes, including Louisville and Stanford who are both ranked in the top five ... The Buffs fell out of the Associated Press rankings for the first time this season after a pair of road losses at Washington State and Washington, both 10-point losses ... Colorado is without starting guard Jasmine Sborov, who was injured in the two-point loss to California. She is expected to be out for three more weeks ... The Buffs have three players averaging double-digit scoring with 2013 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Arielle Roberson leading the team in both scoring average (13.7 ppg) and rebounding average (7.9 rpg).
OREGON (9-8, 0-6)
The Ducks lead the nation in scoring at 96.5 points per game, but are still looking for thier first win in Conference. They have more than doubled their win total from a year ago ... After starting the season at 2-2, UO rattled off seven wins in a row to close out the non-conference regular-season slate ... Oregon has improved its scoring by over 35.0 ppg from last year, reaching triple digits seven times and tallying at least 90 points nine times ... UO opened 2013-14 scoring 131 points to shatter the Pac-12 single-game scoring mark ... FR G Chrishae Rowe is the top-scoring freshman in the country, leading the team and ranking 22nd in the nation at 21.5 ppg, earning Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors four times. She scored a Pac-12 season-high 41 points in a win on Dec. 4 ... SO F Jillian Alleyne leads NCAA Division I in rebounding, averaging 14.7 rpg.
OREGON STATE (10-8, 2-4)
The Beavers dropped a pair of road games in Los Angeles, including a three-point decision at UCLA. With that, OSU has posted five wins of 10-points or less, with three of those coming by five or less points ... OSU ranks sixth in the country in blocks (6.1 bpg), led by Ruth Hamblin’s 3.76 bpg, which ranks fifth in the nation. She recorded a school-record nine blocks against No. 2 Notre Dame. She also recorded the 17th triple-double in Pac-12/10 history in the home win over the Ducks and is the first-ever to accomplish the feat with 10 blocks ... OSU has turned up the offensive pressure this year, averaging 74.9 ppg as compared to 57.3 ppg a season ago. But continues to maintain a strong defensive stance, limiting opponents to just 36.4 field goal percentage, which ranks third in the Pac-12 ... SO G Jamie Weisner is building on a stellar freshman campaign, leading the team in scoring again at 14.8 ppg. She is receiving help from freshman Sydney Weise, who is netting 13.2 ppg.
STANFORD (17-1, 6-0)
The Cardinal is ranked No. 4 in the country this week and is riding a 16-game win streak. Its only loss of the season was to defending NCAA Champion Connecticut in the second game of the season. Most notably during the win streak is a six-point victory over then-top five perrenial power Tennessee, handing the Lady Vols their first loss of the season ... Stanford is again looking to an Ogwumike to lead the team, as the younger sister is in the midst of her final campaign. The All-American is leading the Pac-12 in scoring (27.3), also ranking third in the country. Her 12.0 rpg is ninth in the nation and is second in the country in field goal percentage at 64.1. Ogwumike became the Pac-12’s all-time leading rebounder ... Hall of fame head coach Tara VanDerveer posted her 900th-career victory earlier this season, becoming only the fifth women’s basketball coach in NCAA women’s basketball history to reach the threshold.
UCLA (10-9, 4-3)
The Bruins have won two in a row, posting home wins over Oregon and Oregon State ... All of UCLA’s Conference games have been decided by six points or less ... UCLA has had to contend with a slim roster because of injuries, but have been more than competitive, with six of its setbacks coming by 10 points or less. In addition, the Bruins posted a notable win over Oklahoma, who had been ranked No. 10 at the time of the meeting ... SO G Nirra Fields and SR F Atonye Nyingifa have been trading the scoring lead, with Nyingifa leading the team in scoring this week at 18.0 ppg, while Fields is averaging 17.6 ppg. Nyingifa is the team’s rebounding leader at 9.1, grabbing 10.6 rpg in Pac-12 play.
USC (13-6, 6-1)
USC is on a three-game winning streak and its only league loss so far was at No. 14 Arizona State in overtime ... One of USC’s Pac-12 victories was an upset of then-No. 12 Colorado, the Trojans’ first win over a ranked team since 2011 ... USC opened the 2013-14 with a 3-0 start, the team’s best since 1998-99 ... USC is under the direction of first-year head coach, legendary basketball player and USC alumni Cynthis Cooper ... USC leads the Pac-12 in rebounding defense, limiting opponents to 34.5 rpg while averaging 37.7 rpg, a difference of 3.2 rpg ... JR G Ariya Crook is back in the lineup after missing four games because of injury ... SR F Cassie Harberts is the Pac-12 Player of the Week after scoring 30 points in a 109-85 decision against Oregon as she moved into the top-10 in scoring at USC, knocking out Cooper ... The Women of Troy became the first-ever team to score 100 points at Galen Center after defeating Oregon, 109-85.
UTAH (8-9, 1-5)
The Utes entered Conference play on a five-game win streak, but snapped a four-game losing skid, handing Washington State its first loss of the season. The win came two days after the Utes took Washington to overtime in an eventual one-point loss ... Utah went undefeated in the month of December, which included a double-overtime win over BYU in Provo ... All-Pac-12 performer Taryn Wicijowski is out for the season because of an injury ... Two of the five games during the December stretch were without All-Pac-12 performer and the team’s leading scorer and rebounder Michelle Plouffe. Plouffe is tallying 17.8 ppg and 10.7 rpg. ... FR F Emily Potter is one of two players scoring in double figures, contributing 11.9 ppg, and is the team’s second-leading rebounder at 7.2 rpg.
WASHINGTON (10-7, 3-3)
The Huskies got off to a slow start to the season then won six of nine games. UW got back on track last weekend, posting a pair of close wins, including an OT defendive battle over Utah, then upsetting then-No. 20/21 Colorado for the team’s first win over a ranked opponent this season ... UW has three players averaging double digits with FR G Kelsey Plum leading the way with 19.4 ppg, followed by JR PG Jazmine Davis at 18.9 poingts per game - both ranking in the top six in the Pac-12 ... Plum has been voted the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week four times this season ... Washington is under the direction of first-time head coach Mike Neighbors who was an assistant coach last season.
WASHINGTON STATE (11-7, 5-1)
The Cougars are 11-7 record, posting a signature wins over then-No. 10 Nebraska in Lincoln and wins over top-25 foes Arizona State and Colorado at home ... The Cougs started 5-0 for the first time in Pac-10/12 history ... The win over the Huskers marked the first time since 1998 the Cougs had defeated a top-10 team ... WSU has shown significant improvement in its scoring, averaging 73.4 pgg. Washington State averaged just 59.4 ppg all season last year ... SO G Lia Galdeira is one of the team’s scoring leaders again, averaging 18.6 ppg, while JR G Tia Presley is tallying 6.0 ppg more than a year ago, netting a team-high 19.3 ppg ... WSU’s 82-80 win over the Huskies on January 7 was its first since 1995, snapping a 36-game losing streak to UW. In the same week the Cougars earned their first win in Seattle since 1993 ... WSU has already matched its win total from all of last year and is one Pac-12 win shy of matching last year’s win total.