This week in Pac-12 women’s basketball
The week tipped off with the Pac-12’s first-ever Big Monday matchup, as USC took on No. 4 STANFORD on ESPN2. The Cardinal extended their 18-game winning streak with a 86-59 win over the Trojans, who were fresh off an upset of CALIFORNIA ... The Conference boasts three ranked teams this week, with the Cardinal remaining in the top five for the eighth week this season and the sixth-consecutive week. ARIZONA STATE remains in the top-15, after achieving its highest Associated Press ranking last week since 2009, and the Golden Bears at No. 21 ... OREGON swept the weekly honors as sophomore Jillian Alleyene nabbed player of the week honors, while teammate Chrishae Rowe was the freshman of the week for a Pac-12-record tying fifth time. Alleyne is the nation’s rebounding (15.5) and double-doubles (17) leader, while Rowe is the highest-scoring freshman in the country (21.4). Both have been instrumental in Oregon’s offense, which again ranks No. 1 in NCAA Division I women’s basketball (95.9) ... Speaking of freshman, WASHINGTON’s Kelsey Plum is the second-highest scoring freshman in the nation, averaging 20.0 ppg ... Two sets of rivalry matchups are on the slate this week, with Colorado and Utah going head-to-head on Wednesday and Sunday on the Pac-12 Networks. Cal and Stanford’s first meeting this week will be on Thursday, with the series closing out on Sunday on ESPN2 ... As the middle of the season approaches, the Wooden Award updated its watch list with STANFORD’s Chiney Ogwumike and CALIFORNIA’s Brittany Boyd making the cut. Boyd and STANFORD’s Amber Orrange were also named to the Nancy Leiberman Award watch list. The award is presented to the top-collegiate point guard in the nation ... Ogwumike is having another banner season. After claiming the Pac-12 all-time rebounding record, she is eyeing the Pac-12’s all-time scoring record owned by former Cardinal Candice Wiggins, who recorded 2,629 points in her career (2005-08). Ogwumike entered the top-five on the Pac-12’s list over the weekend.
ARIZONA (4-15, 0-8)
The Wildcats nearly won their first Conference game of the season, but fell to Utah, 60-57, also extending a losing streak to eight games ... UA has come close to snapping its lengthy losing skid. Ten of its losses have been by 10 points or less, including five of its seven Pac-12 setbacks ... 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 (12.1) and steals (1.4) ... 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 ... 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 (17-3, 6-2)
After starting the season unranked, the Sun Devils made their way up to No. 14 last week in the Associated Press poll, their highest ranking since Dec. 21, 2009, and is at No. 15 this week ... ASU already has more wins and more Pac-12 wins than all of last season ... 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 16.0 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 four players are averaging at least 8.0 ppg. RS-SR G Deja Mann leads the way with 11.7 ppg after missing all of last season because of injury ... 10 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 (14-5, 6-2)
The Golden Bears have been ranked all season and three of their five losses have been to teams ranked opponents, including two 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 17.3 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 20.8 ppg and 9.6 rpg ... JR G Brittany Boyd is leading the Pac-12 with 5.63 apg and 3.21 steals per game, while scoring 14.0 ppg.
COLORADO (12-7, 2-6)
Colorado reeled off nine wins in a row to start the season, but all seven of their losses have come in the last 10 games, three of which were to top-25 foes, including Louisville and Stanford, who are both ranked in the top five ... Colorado is without starting guard Jasmine Sborov, who was injured in the two-point loss to California on Jan. 10. She is expected to be out for a few more weeks ... The Buffs have three players averaging double-digit scoring with Jen Reese leading the way at 13.3 ppg. 2013 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Arielle Roberson is second in scoring (12.9 ppg), while leading the team in rebounding average (8.0 rpg) ... The Buffs snapped a four-game skid with a 68-47 win over Arizona, but was on the losing end of a two-point decision to then-No. 14 Arizona State.
OREGON (11-8, 2-6)
The Ducks lead the nation in scoring at 95.9 points per game, picking up their first Pac-12 wins of the season with sweeps over the Washington teams ... UO has almost tripled its win total from a year ago ... Oregon has improved its scoring by over 35.0 ppg from last year, reaching triple digits eight times and tallying at least 90 points 10 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, tying for the team lead and ranking 23rd in the nation at 21.4 ppg. 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 15.5 rpg, after collecting 25 in a win over Washington. She is also the country’s double-doubles leader at 17 ... Alleyne and Rowe were the Player and Freshman of the Week, respectively. Rowe gets the nod for the fifth time this season.
OREGON STATE (12-8, 4-4)
The Beavers claimed a pair of Pac-12 wins to bring its league mark to .500. With the wins, OSU has equaled its Pac-12 win total from last season and surpassed its overall win total from a year ago ... OSU has posted six wins of 10-points or less, with three of those coming by five or less points ... OSU ranks seventh in the country in blocks (6.1 bpg), led by Ruth Hamblin’s 3.65 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 74.2 ppg as compared to 57.3 ppg a season ago. But continues to maintain a strong defensive stance, limiting opponents to just 36.3 field goal percentage, which ranks second in the Pac-12 ... SO G Jamie Weisner is building on a stellar freshman campaign, leading the team in scoring again at 14.4 ppg. She is receiving help from freshman Sydney Weise, who is netting 13.1 ppg.
STANFORD (19-1, 8-0)
The Cardinal is ranked No. 4 in the country this week and is riding an 18-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 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 (27.1), also ranking third in the country. Her 12.2 rpg are eighth in the nation and she is second in the country in field goal percentage at 64.2. 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 ... Ogwumike was recently named to the Wooden Award midseason watch list, while JR G Amber Orrange was named to the Nancy Lieberman Award watch list.
UCLA (10-11, 4-5)
Seven 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. Despite the slim roster, the Bruins posted a notable win over Oklahoma, who was 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 Fields leading the team in scoring this week at 17.8 ppg, while Nyingifa is averaging 17.5 ppg. Nyingifa is the team’s rebounding leader at 8.8, grabbing 9.4 rpg in Pac-12 play. Her 10 double-doubles on the season ranks 23rd in the country.
USC (14-7, 7-2)
USC had a four-game winning streak snapped, but its loss to No. 4 Stanford is only the Trojans' second of the season. Their only other league loss 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 Cynthia Cooper ... JR G Ariya Crook is back in the lineup after missing four games because of injury. She scored 34 points, going 5-for-10 from long range, to help USC upset Cal in Berkeley. She is averaging a team-best 16.2 ppg, including 17.3 in Pac-12 play ... SR F Cassie Harberts is averaging 17.3 ppg and 7.8 rpg in league play ... The Women of Troy became the first-ever team to score 100 points at Galen Center after defeating Oregon, 109-85.
UTAH (9-10, 2-6)
The Utes entered Conference play on a five-game win streak and snapped a four-game losing skid, handing Washington State its first loss of the season. Utah has won two of its last three games ... Utah’s last four games have been by three points or less, including a one-point overtime loss at Washington ... 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 18.2 ppg and 10.6 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 6.6 rpg.
WASHINGTON (10-9, 3-5)
The Huskies have hit a rough patch since Pac-12 play began, winning just two of its last seven games after entering Conference play 7-4 ... One of its two Pac-12 wins was an upset of 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 20.0 ppg, followed by JR PG Jazmine Davis at 19.6 poingts per game - both in the top five in the Pac-12 ... Plum is the second-highest scoring freshman in the country, behind Oregon’s Chrishae Rowe ... Washington is under the direction of first-time head coach Mike Neighbors who was an assistant coach last season.
WASHINGTON STATE (11-9, 5-3)
The Cougars are 11-9 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 72.2 ppg. Washington State averaged just 59.4 ppg all season last year ... SO G Lia Galdeira is the team’s scoring leaders again, averaging 18.6 ppg, while JR G Tia Presley is netting over 5.0 ppg more than a year ago, tallying 18.4 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.
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