Two weeks remain in Pac-12 women's basketball regular season
Just two weeks remain in the regular season and teams will be making a final push to improve their position in the Pac-12 standings, as well as seedings in the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament. Five teams are separated by just one game and it could mean the difference between a first round bye or playing in the first-round game of the tournament ... OREGON and UCLA tipped things off this week with a Monday night contest that saw the Bruins claim the road victory. But the Ducks’ Jillian Alleyne also made headlines after breaking the Pac-12’s single-season rebounding record. She continues to establish herself as one of the top rebounders in the nation, leading the country with a 15.7 rebounding average, which would also be a league record ... Three teams are ranked again this week, with STANFORD leading the way at No. 5/3, while CALIFORNIA is No. 18/19 and ARIZONA STATE is No. 20/24. OREGON STATE, which has won its last five and seven of its last eight, is receiving votes in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches Poll ... WASHINGTON STATE’s Tia Presley was voted the Pac-12 Player of the Week after recording back-to-back 32-point games to lead the Cougs to crucial victories. WSU’s 14 overall wins and eight Conference victories are the most for the team since 1994-95 and 1995-96, respectively ... WASHINGTON’s Kelsey Plum was voted the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week for a league record-tying sixth time ... Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike continues to make a strong case for national player of the year. Her 26.5 points per game, 12.2 rebounds per game and 63.6 shooting percentage rank her in the top-10 in the country this season, the only player to be ranked in the top 10 in all three categories. She has also recorded 22 20-point games, including 11 instances where she netted at least 30 points ... Friday and Sunday are packed with games on the Pac-12 Networks. Check pac-12.com for details.
ARIZONA (5-20, 1-13)
UA picked up its first win in Conference with a 68-49 win over in-state rival Arizona State, snapping an 11-game losing skid for the Wildcats ... 11 of its losses this year have been by 10 points or less, including seven of its 13 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 (11.2) and steals (1.3) ... 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 (20-6, 9-5)
After starting the season unranked, the Sun Devils are No. 20/24 this week, reaching as high as No. 11 in the Associated Press poll on Dec. 16, their highest ranking since Dec. 21, 2009 ... ASU 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 12.8 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 42.4 percent clip ... ASU’s success can also be attributed to its balanced scoring, as seven players are averaging at least 7.0 ppg. RS-SR G Deja Mann leads the way with 11.0 ppg after missing all of last season because of injury ... 12 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 (18-7, 10-4)
The Golden Bears have been ranked all season and five of their seven losses have been to ranked opponents, including two to then-No. 4 Stanford and two losses against opponents ranked in the top three at the time of the meeting ... JR F Reshanda Gray became the third current Cal player to surpass the 1,000-point career mark, reaching the milestone against Washington State to earn her first Pac-12 Player of the Week honor ... Gray has been a tremendous force for the Bears, averaging a team-best 16.3 ppg and 8.2 rpg, nearly doubling her scoring average from last year and 3.0 rpg better than last year. She has also been a starter in every game this season, compared to just once last year. After missing 10 games, RS SR F Gennifer Brandon, a national player of the year candidate, has recorded five double-doubles, inlcuding a 20-rebound performance against WSU ... JR G Brittany Boyd is leading the Pac-12 with 5.7 apg and 3.1 steals per game, while scoring 15.1 ppg.
COLORADO (14-11, 4-10)
After starting the season 9-0, the Buffs have struggled to maintain consistency with 10 of their 11 losses coming by 10 points or less, with four of those losses coming by three points or less. Among the close losses was a seven-point setback at Louisville, a 10-point decision to Stanford, and a pair of two-point nailbiters to California and Arizona State ... 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 weeks ... The Buffs have three players averaging double-digit scoring with 2013 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Arielle Roberson leading the way at 12.8 ppg and 7.9 rpg, both team-bests ... JR F Jen Reese is having a career-year, averaging 12.5 ppg and 6.2 rpg, which is good for second on the team in both categories.
OREGON (13-12, 4-10)
The nation’s leading rebounder, SO Jillian Alleyne broke the Pac-12’s single-season rebounding record on Feb. 17, a mark previously held by Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike (2010). Alleyne is averaging 15.7 rpg, which is also on pace for breaking the Conference’s single-season mark ... The Ducks continue to lead the nation in scoring at 93.6 points per game ... The Ducks have won four Pac-12 games, doubling its league win total from a year ago, and has more than tripled its overall win total from a year ago ... Oregon has improved its scoring by nearly 33.0 ppg from last year, reaching triple digits eight times and tallying at least 90 points 12 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 10th in the nation at 23.3 ppg. She scored a Pac-12 season-high 41 points in a win on Dec. 4. Rowe has been voted the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week a league-record six times.
OREGON STATE (17-9, 9-5)
The Beavers have won five in a row and seven of their last eight after opening the Pac-12 season 2-4. Their nine league wins ties a program-record ... OSU has also surpassed its overall season win total from a year ago ... OSU has posted seven wins of 10-points or less, with three of those coming by five or less points ... OSU is ninth in the country in blocks (5.9 bpg), led by Ruth Hamblin’s 3.65 bpg, which ranks sixth 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 72.0 ppg as compared to 57.3 ppg a season ago. But continues to maintain a strong defensive stance, limiting opponents to just 36.1 field goal percentage, which second in the Pac-12 ... SO G Jamie Weisner is building on a stellar freshman campaign, leading the team in scoring again at 13.8 ppg. She is receiving help from freshman Sydney Weise, who is netting 13.5 ppg and ranks 20th in the country at 43.3 3-point field goal percentage.
STANFORD (24-2, 13-1)
No. 5/4 Stanford is looking to clinch at least a tie for the Pac-12 regular-season title this weekend, after only boasting one loss so far. It has only two losses all season, with one coming to defending NCAA Champion Connecticut ... 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 having another banner season, leading the Pac-12 in scoring (26.5), while 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 63.6. She is the only player in the country to rank in the top-10 in all three categories. Ogwumike became the Pac-12’s all-time leading rebounder and is within striking distance of the all-time scoring record ... 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 (12-14, 6-8)
The Bruins scored 103 points in a win over Oregon, nearly as many points as their two previous games combined (108). Five players scored in double figures, three netted at least 20 points, including SR F Atonye Nyingifa, who had a game-high 34 ... Eight 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 ... Nyingifa leads the team with 19.0 ppg and 9.0 rpg and has been even better in league play (20.4 ppg, 9.6 rpg) ... SO G Nirra Fields is contributing 17.0 ppg and 6.3 rpg.
USC (16-10, 9-5)
USC already more overall wins and Pac-12 wins than a year ago ... The Trojans posted an upset of then-No. 12 Colorado for their first win over a ranked opponent since 2011 and also had a big upset at No. 23/22 California ... Four of the team’s five league losses have been by 10 points or less ... 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 and SR F Cassie Harberts are the team’s scoring leaders, averaging 15.7 and 16.6 ppg, respectively, while Harberts is grabbing a team-best 7.7 rpg. In league play, Harberts is contributing 18.4 ppg and 8.3 rpg.
UTAH (10-15, 3-11)
After winning three of four games from Jan. 19-Jan. 29, the Utes have dropped five in a row, inlcuding a one-point setback to Washington on Sunday ... 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 18.3 ppg and 10.5 rpg. ... FR F Emily Potter is one of two players scoring in double figures, contributing 10.8 ppg and is the team’s second-leading rebounder at 6.7 rpg.
WASHINGTON (15-10, 8-6)
The Huskies picked up one of their biggest wins in program history on Sunday, upsetting then-No.3 Stanford for their first win over a top-5 ranked team since 1990. With the win, the Huskies have two wins this season over ranked opponents ... UW appears to be peaking with just two weeks remaining to the regular season, winning five of its last six ... Washington has three players averaging double digits with FR G Kelsey Plum leading the way with 19.9 ppg, followed by JR PG Jazmine Davis at 19.3 - both in the top six in the Pac-12. ... Plum is the second-highest scoring freshman in the country, behind Oregon’s Chrishae Rowe ... Plum was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week for a Pac-12-recording tying sixth time ... Washington is under the direction of first-time head coach Mike Neighbors who was an assistant coach last season.
WASHINGTON STATE (14-12, 8-6)
JR F Tia Presley was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week after posting back-to-back 32-point games to lead WSU to a pair of road wins ... The wins snapped a three-game losing skid ... The Cougs opened the Pac-12 slate with a 5-0 record, their best-ever start in Pac-12/10 play in program history ... WSU’s 14 wins and eight Pac-12 wins are the most since the 1995-96 campaign ... WSU posted signature wins over then-No. 10 Nebraska, and then-top-25 foes Arizona State and Colorado at home ... WSU’s 82-80 win over the Huskies on January 7 was its first since 1995, snapping a 36-game losing streak to UW. The Cougs then got their first win in Seattle since 1993 later that week ... WSU has shown significant improvement in its scoring, averaging 73.0 ppg after averaging just 59.4 ppg all season last year ... Presley is netting a team-best 19.4 ppg, a career high, while SO G Lia Galdeira is also averaging a personal-best 17.6 ppg.