This Week In Pac-10 Women's Basketball

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USC Off to Best Pac-10 Start in 7 Years

The STANFORD Cardinal (15-3 overall, 8-1 Pac-10) and ARIZONA Wildcats (16-4, 8-1) share first-place bragging rights in the Pac-10 as teams prepare to begin the second half of Conference play... Arizona's 8-1 mark is the school's best ever through the first nine games of Pac-10 action, while the Wildcats' 16-4 overall mark is the team's best start since the 1999-2000 squad went 17-3 through the first 20 games of that season... Stanford hosts the Washington schools this weekend, with both schools hungry for Pac-10 road wins... WASHINGTON (11-7, 4-5) and WASHINGTON STATE (4-14, 0-9) are a combined 0-9 in league road games... In sole possession of third place, the USC Women of Troy (10-7, 7-2) have put together their best Pac-10 first half since opening at 7-2 in 1996-97... Unbeaten in Conference home games, USC plays host to the Oregon schools this week... ARIZONA STATE (12-6, 6-3), winners of two in a row, returns home to Wells Fargo Arena to host rival Arizona on Saturday... The Sun Devils are 8-1 at home this year... In the ASU-UA series, the home team has prevailed in all four games over the last two seasons.


Thu., Jan. 29
OREGON at UCLA, 7 p.m.

Sat., Jan. 31
OREGON at USC, 4 p.m.

All game times local to site.

Sat., Feb. 7 - STANFORD at ARIZONA STATE, 1 p.m. (FSN)
Sat., Feb. 14 - TBA (Wildcard Selection), 2 p.m. PT/3 p.m. MT (FSN)
Sat., Feb. 21 - TBA (Wildcard Selection), 1 p.m. PT/2 p.m. MT
TBA (Wildcard Selection), 3 p.m. PT/4 p.m. MT

EBONY HOFFMAN NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: USC senior forward Ebony Hoffman has been named the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Jan. 19- 25.

Hoffman, from Harbor City, Calif., averaged a team-leading 15.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals in victories over California and sixth-ranked Stanford. In two games, she shot 42.9 percent from the field (9-of-21) and hit 12-of-13 free throws (.923).

In the 67-47 win over Cal on Jan. 23, Hoffman recorded 15 points, five rebounds and posted a career-high four blocks. In the 59-56 defeat of No. 6/6 Stanford on Jan. 25, she recorded 16 points, nine rebounds and a game-high four steals. Her two free throws with 21 seconds remaining gave USC a three-point lead and helped ice the win for USC, as the Women of Troy handed Stanford its first Conference loss of the season.

USC is off to a 7-2 Pac-10 start, its best league mark through nine games since 1997, when the Women of Troy also started 7-2. USC remains at home this weekend with games against the Oregon schools, starting on Thursday with a 7 p.m. tipoff with Oregon State.

The Player of the Week honor is Hoffman's second and the 30th all-time selection for USC.

ALSO NOMINATED: Dee-Dee Wheeler, ARIZ; Betsy Boardman, ASU; Chelsea Wagner, ORE; Leilani Estavan, OSU; Nicole Powell, STAN; Nikki Blue, UCLA; Giuliana Mendiola, WASH.

2003-04 PAC-10 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Dec. 1- Giuliana Mendiola, WASH; Dec. 8- Nihan Anaz, CAL; Dec. 15- Nicole Powell, STAN; Dec. 22- Leilani Estavan, OSU; Jan. 5- Shannon Howell, OSU; Jan. 12- Nicole Powell, STAN; Jan. 19- Shawntinice Polk, ARIZ; Jan. 26- Ebony Hoffman, USC.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: Here's a look at the league race at the half-way mark last season, listed according to the standings as they appeared a year ago...

				2003	2004	Difference	1.	Stanford	8-1	8-1	--	2.	Washington	7-2	4-5	-3	3.	Arizona		6-3	8-1	+2		UCLA		6-3	4-5	-2	5.	Arizona State	4-5	6-3	+2		Oregon State	4-5	4-5	--		USC		4-5	7-2	+3	8.	California	3-6	2-7	-1		Oregon		3-6	2-7	-1	10.	Washington St.	0-9	0-9	--

ARIZONA WILDCATS: JR G Dee-Dee Wheeler averaged 17.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.0 steals in UA's road sweep of the Oregon schools last week. It marked Arizona's first Pac-10 road sweep since the 2001-02 season. The Cats' 8-1 Conference mark is their best record ever through the first half of Pac-10 play. Arizona's school-record home winning streak stands at 23 games and is the third-longest active home winning streak in the nation. UA's overall 16-4 mark is the team's best start since the 1999-2000 squad went 17-3 through the first 20 games of that season.

ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS: ASU has won two in a row and four of its last five. The Sun Devils are 3-2 on the road in Pac-10 play this season and have won three straight Pac-10 road games after going 1-8 on the road in league play last year. The Sun Devils have allowed 60.2 points per game in the last five contests. ASU turned the ball over a season-low 13 times in its win at Oregon Jan. 24 after turning it over 81 times in the three previous contests. Arizona State's wins at Oregon State and Oregon last week gave the team its first Pac-10 road sweep since collecting wins at UCLA and USC in 2000-01. ASU's 6-3 Pac-10 start matches the start of the 2001-02 team which won seven of its first 10 Pac-10 games and tied school records for overall (25) and Pac-10 wins (12).

CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS: The Golden Bears host the Washington schools this weekend, and look to avenge a three-point loss to the hands of Washington State on Feb. 13, 2003. Prior to that loss, Cal had taken three straight from the Cougars. The Bears have dropped six in a row against Washington dating back to the 2000-01 season. SR G Nihan Anaz continues to pace the team in scoring at 16.2 points per game and ranks third in the Conference in steals (2.56 spg). JR F Kiki Williams notched 24 points (on 4-of-6 three-point shooting) in the loss at UCLA on Feb. 25. Williams ranks second in the Pac-10 in free throw percentage (.854).

OREGON DUCKS: In the Ducks' loss to Arizona on Jan. 22, JR G Corrie Mizusawa posted her fourth double-digit assist game this year with 10. Against Arizona State on Jan. 24, Oregon had five players score in double figures for first time in a game this season, led by SO G Chelsea Wagner's 20 points. Wagner drained 10 treys in two games over the weekend. The Ducks also outrebounded the Pac-10's top rebounding team, ASU, 33-32. JR G/F Brandi Davis has converted 16 straight free-throw attempts. Wagner has been playing on a torn lateral meniscus in her left knee in UO's last three games. JR F/G Kedzie Gunderson went down with a knee injury 35 seconds into the game Jan. 24 versus ASU.

OREGON STATE BEAVERS: SR G Leilani Estavan led the Beavers in both scoring and rebounding against the Arizona schools last week, averaging 11.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in two losses. Estavan posted a team-high 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting against Arizona Jan. 24 and made three of OSU's five second-half field goals. In their loss to Arizona State on Jan. 22, the Beavers forced 26 Sun Devils turnovers, the most for an OSU Pac-10 opponent this season. SR F Krystal Turner leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, shooting at a .633 clip (57-of-90).

STANFORD CARDINAL: The Cardinal's loss to USC on Jan. 25 marked the team's second in a row to the Women of Troy in Los Angeles. SR F Nicole Powell posted back-to-back double-doubles, averaging 28.0 points and 13.0 rebounds in the road split against UCLA and USC. Powell notched 29 points at USC as the lone Stanford player in double digits for just the second time this season. With 14 points in a 55-46 loss at Texas Tech on Dec. 21, FR C Kristen Newlin was the lone player in double digits. Powell leads the Conference in scoring (21.8 ppg) and is averaging a league-leading 24.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per contest in Pac-10 games.

UCLA BRUINS: In the midst of a four-game homestand, UCLA's win over Cal on Jan. 25 snapped a season-long three-game losing skid. SO G Nikki Blue averaged 22.0 points as the Bruins split with Stanford (losing in overtime) and Cal. Blue's team-high 25 points against Stanford marked her fourth 20-point game on the season and the 11th of her career. She also has three 30-point games to her credit. UCLA will attempt to extend its three-game winning streak against Oregon. The Bruins have won two straight against OSU.

USC WOMEN OF TROY: USC's 59-56 win over Stanford on Jan. 25 was the Trojans' first over a ranked opponent this season and first since beating Stanford 75-72 on Jan. 26, 2003. Ironically, that game was also played at the Sports Arena, Stanford was also ranked No. 6 and the final margin of victory was also three points. SR C Ebony Hoffman averaged 15.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in the wins over Cal and Stanford, as the Women of Troy improved to 7-2 in the Pac-10. The 7-2 mark is USC's best record through nine games since the 1997 season, when they finished third in the league. It marks the best Conference start for USC under Chris Gobrecht.

WASHINGTON HUSKIES: Riding a three-game winning streak, their longest of the season since a 5-0 start, the Huskies hit the road to face Stanford and Cal this week. Thursday night's matchup with Stanford will feature the league's top two scorers --Stanford's Nicole Powell (21.8 ppg) and Washington SR G Giuliana Mendiola (19.3 ppg) -- the 2002 and 2003 Pac-10 players of the year, respectively. Mendiola scored 18 points in the win over rival Washington State on Jan. 24 to surpass Karen Deden and Megan Franza on the UW all-time scoring list. With 1,614 points, Mendiola now ranks seventh in UW career scoring and 21st on the Pac-10 all-time list. Mendiola needs only 14 more assists to set a new Husky career record. Leteia Hughley holds the record with 559. Mendiola now has 546 assists. The Huskies average a Pac-10 leading 74.9 points per game, while Stanford is limiting its opponents to a league-leading 57.3 points per contest.

WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS: The Washington State freshmen duo of F Kate Benz and G Stephanie Singer combined for 25 points in the Cougars' 72-54 loss at Washington on Jan. 24. Benz also recorded her first double-double of the season, pulling down a game-high 10 rebounds. The Cougars outrebounded the Huskies, 36-34, the eighth time this season they have won the battle of the boards. The Cougars are looking for their second straight win against Cal, following a 67-64 win over the Golden Bears on Feb. 13, 2003. That victory snapped a school-record 45-game losing streak, the second-longest in NCAA Division I history. It also halted a 34-game Pac-10 losing streak that dated back to Feb. 24, 2001 (also against Cal). WSU ranks second in the league in free throw shooting (.816). JR G Jessica Perry needs just five more assists to break into Washington State's all-time top-10 list in that category.

CONFERENCE RPI: Through games as of Jan. 25, 2004, the WBCA/Summerville RPI ranks the top five conferences (RPI) as follows: 1. Big Ten, 2. Big 12, 3. Pac-10, 4. SEC, 5. ACC.

NCAA COMMITTEE CONTACT: Washington Associate Athletic Director Marie Tuite is currently in her third year as a member of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee. The 10-member committee selects and seeds the 64-team field NCAA Tournament. Media members wishing to speak with Tuite should contact Erin Rowley in the University of Washington Media Relations Office at 206-543-2230.

COUNTDOWN TO 1,000: Three active Pac-10 players -- Stanford SR F Nicole Powell, Washington SR G Giuliana Mendiola and USC SR F/C Ebony Hoffman -- eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in scoring last season. Three more joined the active 1,000-point club this season -- Washington SR C Andrea Lalum, Arizona JR G Dee-Dee Wheeler and Arizona SR G Aimee Gryzb. Two more players -- both Oregon State Beavers -- could join the club this season. Here's a look at the Conference's active 1,000-point scorers and those likely to join the ranks this season:

		Name (School)			Career Points		Nicole Powell, STAN (2001-pres)		1,762		Giuliana Mendiola, WASH (2001-pres)	1,614		Ebony Hoffman, USC (2001-pres)		1,530		Andrea Lalum, WASH (2001-pres)		1,268		Dee-Dee Wheeler, ARIZ (2002-pres)	1,192		Aimee Gryzb, ARIZ (2001-pres)		1,080		Hollye Chapman, OSU (2001-pres)		989		Leilani Estavan, OSU (2001-pres)	967

NOTES ON THE PAC-10 CAREER LISTS: In Stanford's 78-71 overtime win at UCLA on Jan. 23, Cardinal SR F/G Nicole Powell scored 27 points to surpass former Bruin Michelle Greco (1998-2003) on the Pac-10 all-time scoring list. Powell now ranks 15th with 1,762 career points... Washington SR G Giuliana Mendiola (1,614 points) is the just the second player in Pac-10 history (and first since Jennifer Azzi) to rank in the top-25 in career scoring (No. 21) and the top-10 in assists (No. 9)... Powell needs 195 points and 38 rebounds to end her career ranked among the Pac-10's top-10 in scoring and top-5 in rebounding -- a feat previously accomplished by just three players: Lisa Leslie, USC (1991-94), Tina Thompson, USC (1994-97) and Val Whiting, STAN (1989-93)... USC SR F Ebony Hoffman ranks 28th on the Pac-10 career scoring list (1,530 points) and needs 16 points to surpass former USC great Tina Thompson for 27th place on the Pac-10 charts. Hoffman also and entered the league's all-time top-10 in rebounding last week... OSU SR C Brina Chaney, the Beavers' all-time leading shot blocker, ranks fifth on the Pac-10 career swats list.

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