Pac-12 women's basketball teams wrap up regular season
It is the final week of the regular season and, other than the first and last seeds, Pac-12 teams are still trying to lock up seedings for the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament in KeyArena in Seattle, March 6-9 ... Fifth-ranked STANFORD locked up its 14th-consecutive regular-season league crown, inlcuding the No. 1 seed in the tournament, and the 23rd all-time. Consensus national player of the year candidate Chiney Ogwumike was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the eighth time this season after leading the Cardinal to clinch the league crown. She was also voted the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year, the first Stanford women’s basketball player to earn the honor and the first Pac-12 women’s basketball player to win the award since 1988-89 ... WASHINGTON’s Kelsey Plum is the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week for the seventh time this season, a new league record ... OREGON STATE is in the midst of a seven-game winning streak and is looking for its first top-four finish since 2008-09 when the team finished tied for fourth. The Beavers are currently tied for third in the Conference with No. 20 ARIZONA STATE, who is also having an impressive turnaround after more than doubling its league win total from last year and posting a third 20-win season in four years. OSU and ASU were picked to finish eighth and 10th in the Conference, respectively, in the coaches preseason coaches poll. Both will square off on the final day of the regular season on Sunday, March 2 ... No. 18 CALIFORNIA is on a six-game win streak and looks to maintain second place in the standings as the Golden Bears head to Washington and WASHINGTON STATE, who both have wins over ranked opponents this season ... Pac-12 Networks tips off this week’s coverage of crucial matchups on Thursday, Feb. 27, with four-straight days of televised women’s basketball games.
ARIZONA (5-22, 1-15)
UA lost two more close Conference contests over the weekend, both by five points or less. 13 of its losses this year have been by 10 points or less, including nine of its 15 Pac-12 setbacks ... The Wildcats’ Conference win came against in-state rival Arizona State ... 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 (11.0) 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 ... Seven different Wildcats have been the leading scorer in a game this season.
ARIZONA STATE (22-6, 11-5)
After starting the season unranked, the Sun Devils are No. 20 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 11.7 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 42.3 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 10.9 ppg after missing all of last season because of injury ... 13 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 (20-7, 12-4)
After a midseason stretch where the Bears lost four of six Conference games, Cal has bounced back with seven wins in a row to clinch a first round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament ... Five of Cal’s seven losses have been to ranked opponents, including four against opponents ranked in the top five 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 ... Gray has been a tremendous force for the Bears, averaging a team-best 16.4 ppg and 8.6 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 has recorded six double-doubles, inlcuding a 20-rebound performance against WSU ... JR G Brittany Boyd, who was named a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award, is leading the Pac-12 with 5.7 apg and 3.0 steals per game, while scoring 14.7 ppg.
COLORADO (15-12, 5-11)
After starting the season 9-0, the Buffs have struggled to maintain consistency with 11 of their 12 losses coming by 10 points or less, 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 had in the team’s first 14 games of the season ... The Buffs have three players averaging double-digit scoring with 2013 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Arielle Roberson leading the way at 12.6 ppg and 7.9 rpg, both team-bests ... JR F Jen Reese is having a career-year, averaging 12.3 ppg and 5.9 rpg, which is good for second on the team in both categories.
OREGON (13-14, 4-12)
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 93.3 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 nine 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 16th in the nation at 21.8 ppg. She scored a Pac-12 season-high 41 points in a win on Dec. 4.
OREGON STATE (19-9, 11-5)
The Beavers have won seven in a row and nine of their last 10 after opening the Pac-12 season 2-4. Their 11 league wins is one shy of the program record set in 1994-95... OSU has nealy doubled its 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 tied for ninth in the country in blocks (5.9 bpg), led by Ruth Hamblin’s 3.71 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 35.7 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 43.4 3-point field goal percentage.
STANFORD (26-2, 15-1)
No. 5 Stanford clinched the Pac-12 regular-season title, marking the 14th-straight season the Cardinal have won or shared the title ... Stanford has only two losses all season, one in Conference and the other 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 12.1 rpg are eighth in the nation and she is third in the country in field goal percentage at 62.3. 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. She was voted Pac-12 Player of the Week for the eighth time this season. A consensus national player of the year nominee, she was voted the CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year... 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 (12-16, 6-10)
The Bruins gave California and Stanford all they could handle over the weekend, losing by 5 and 9 points, respectively. Nine 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 eight 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 18.7 ppg and 8.8 rpg and has been even better in league play (19.6 ppg, 9.1 rpg) ... SO G Nirra Fields is contributing 17.7 ppg and 6.4 rpg.
USC (16-12, 9-7)
USC already has 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 ... Six of the team’s seven 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 15.8 and 16.5 ppg, respectively, while Harberts is grabbing a team-best 7.6 rpg. In league play, Harberts is contributing 18.0 ppg and 7.9 rpg.
UTAH (11-16, 4-12)
After winning three of four games from Jan. 19-Jan. 29, the Utes dropped five in a row, but snapped the losing skid with a 52-47 road win at Arizona on Friday ... 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 10.4 rpg. ... FR F Emily Potter is one of two players scoring in double figures, contributing 10.6 ppg and is the team’s second-leading rebounder at 6.5 rpg.
WASHINGTON (16-11, 9-7)
The Huskies reached triple digits for the first time this season in a 108-100 win over Oregon on Friday ... UW picked up one of their biggest wins in program history when they upset 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 six of its last eight ... Washington has three players averaging double digits with FR G Kelsey Plum leading the way with 20.8 ppg, followed by JR PG Jazmine Davis at 19.5 - both in the top five 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-record seventh time ... Washington is under the direction of first-time head coach Mike Neighbors who was an assistant coach last season.
WASHINGTON STATE (15-13, 9-7)
JR F Tia Presley has posted 32-point performances in three of the last four games as the Cougs have also won three of their last four after 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 15 wins and nine 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 73.5 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 18.0 ppg.