This Week In Pac-10 Women's Basketball
CARDINAL CAPTURES FOURTH STRAIGHT CONFERENCE TITLE, REACHES ELITE EIGHT
Arizona, Stanford, UCLA Earn NCAA Bids
The STANFORD Cardinal and ARIZONA Wildcats finished with identical 14-4 records to share the 2004 Pacific-10 Conference women's basketball title. Stanford grabbed a share of its fourth straight Pac-10 crown, while Arizona earned a portion of its first ever Pac-10 Championship in women's basketball. The top-seeded Cardinal defeated the second seeded Wildcats, 51-46, to capture its second straight State Farm Pac-10 Tournament title. With the tournament win, Stanford secured the league's automatic NCAA Tournament berth. The Cardinal carried that momentum into the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the Elite Eight for the second time since its 1997 Final Four run. Stanford SR F Nicole Powell was named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament's Midwest Region.
The Wildcats, earning a second straight at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, won eight of their last 12 games and logged 20 wins for the fourth time in the last five seasons. The UCLA Bruins tied for third place in the Conference with an 11-7 mark and earned the league's other at-large NCAA Tournament bid, as the No. 10 seed in the Mideast Region. UCLA made its return to the NCAA Tournament following a three-year absence.
Six Pac-10 teams saw postseason action, with three reaching the NCAA Tournament, while the 'Conference of Champions' had a team reach the Sweet Sixteen or further for the 20th time in the last 23 seasons. Stanford reached the Elite Eight for the first time since 2002. Both Arizona and UCLA fell in first-round action.
Three teams -- ARIZONA STATE, OREGON STATE and WASHINGTON --accepted invitations to the Women's NIT. The Huskies reached the tournament's second round, while the Beavers advanced to the quarterfinals, losing on the road.
PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Nicole Powell, SR F, STANFORD
PAC-10 FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Noelle Quinn, FR G, UCLA
PAC-10 COACH OF THE YEAR: Caren Horstmeyer, CALIFORNIA
Mark Your Calendar...
2004 PAC-10 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL MEDIA DAY
Tuesday, Oct. 26, HP Pavilion at San Jose
ARIZONA WILDCATS: The Wildcats finished with a 24-9 overall record after falling to Michigan State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Pac-10 Tournament runner-up, Arizona won eight of its last 12 games and was riding a six-game win streak entering the championship game of the Pac-10 Tournament. The loss marked the second straight year that the Wildcats were edged by Stanford in the Conference Tournament title game. Arizona tied the Cardinal for the regular-season Pac-10 Championship, the first league championship in Wildcat history. Arizona has reached the 20-win mark for the fourth time in the last five years and the seventh time in the last nine seasons. The Cats' 24 wins was just one shy of the school record of 25 set by the 1999-2000 squad. JR G Dee-Dee Wheeler led the squad in scoring (16.9 ppg) and assists (4.70 apg) this season. Wheeler and SO C Shawntinice Polk (16.6 ppg) finished third and fourth in the Pac-10 in scoring, respectively. Polk, who finished with a Pac-10 second-best 10.3 rebounds per game, was named an honorable mention All-American by the Associated Press for the second straight year. With her appearance in the NCAA Tournament game against Michigan State, SR G Aimee Grzyb became Arizona's career leader in games played with 123. Polk broke her own single-season rebounding record of 335, a mark she set last season, during the Michigan State game. Polk finished with 339 boards on the season. Two Wildcats were named to the Pac-10 All-Tournament Team -- Polk and Grzyb. Wheeler joined Polk on the All-Pac-10 first team, while FR F/C Shannon Hobson received All-Freshman honorable mention acclaim. Arizona paced the Pac-10 in scoring (72.3 ppg), field goal percentage (.459) and rebounding (38.3 rpg).
ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS: The Sun Devils finished with a 17-12 overall record after falling to UNLV in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament. Arizona State made its second straight appearance in the NIT. The Sun Devils finished in a tie for third place in the Pac-10 with an 11-7 league record, marking the team's fourth straight winning season and the third time in four years that ASU has finished in the top half of the Pac-10. The Sun Devils closed out the season losing six straight games away from their home court. The No. 5 seed Sun Devils fell to No. 4 seed UCLA in the State Farm Pac-10 Tournament quarterfinals. JR F Betsy Boardman injured her knee with two minutes left to play in the Feb. 28 game at Washington State and missed the last two games of the season. Arizona State led the Pac-10 in three-point percentage defense (.304), assists (16.38 apg) and rebounding defense (32.2 rpg). The Sun Devils finished second in the Conference in scoring defense (61.1 ppg). JR G Kylan Loney, an All-Pac-10 selection, led the team and finished 10th in the Pac-10 with 3.03 assists per game. FR F Emily Westerberg was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team.
CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS: The Bears posted a 12-17 overall record and finished ninth in the Pac-10, going 4-14. Cal jumped out to a 8-2 record to start the year, its best start since 1992-93. In that stretch, the Bears won the Oakland Tribune Classic for the first time since 1998 and finished the non-conference schedule with a 6-0 home record, their first unbeaten non-conference home slate since 1998-99. The 7-2 non-conference mark was the best mark posted by Cal in 11 years. On Jan. 19, tragedy struck as JR F Alisa Lewis died suddenly from bacterial meningitis. Head Coach Caren Horstmeyer was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year, her third league coach of the year honor after garnering West Coast Conference accolades in 1991 and 1993. Cal went 1-1 in the Pac-10 Tournament, defeating Oregon and losing to eventual champion Stanford. The Bears shot 43.3 percent from the floor on the season, the first time since 1996-97 they finished the season above 40 percent shooting. Cal had four players with at least 20 three-point field goals, compared to just one player last year. All-Pac-10 First Team selection SR G Nihan Anaz led the squad in scoring with 14.1 points per game. JR F Leigh Gregory and SR C Olga Volkova led the team in rebounding with 4.9 and 4.7 rebounds per game, respectively. The home attendance mark of 3,712 versus Stanford on Jan. 16, was both a season high and an all-time Haas Pavilion high for women's hoops. Cal set the school's new average attendance record with 1,615 fans per game, breaking the old record of 1,171 (set in 2000-01).
OREGON DUCKS: After starting the year 8-1, the Ducks finished the season 14-15, 6-12 in Conference play. Oregon lost SR C Cathrine Kraayeveld in early December to an ACL injury (right knee), her second ACL injury in two years. Prior to the injury, Kraayeveld led the Ducks in scoring (17.2 ppg) and rebounding (8.6 rpg). This year's Oregon team was the first in school history to defeat two top-10 ranked teams in the same season, with victories over Final Four participant then-No. 9/10 Louisiana State and Elite Eight participant then-No. 10/10 Stanford, the second-highest ranked Pac-10 opponent ever defeated by an Oregon team. All-Pac-10 honorable mention JR C Andrea Bills recorded a team-high six double-doubles, fifth-most in the league. Her 21 rebounds versus Montana on Dec. 12 were a Pac-10 season high. Bills also led the team in scoring with 11.1 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game (fourth in the Pac-10) and 17 blocks (eighth in the Pac-10). JR G Corrie Mizusawa led the Pac-10 with 6.21 assists per game and seven double-digit assists games. Mizusawa's 180 assists this season ranks second all-time in Oregon history (behind Jacque Semeniuk's 190 in 1990)and is 14th in the Pac-10. Her 14 assists at Gonzaga on Nov. 25 was the best single-game performance by a Pac-10 player, topping her 13 assist effort versus Valparaiso on Nov.15. FR F Eleanor Haring was Oregon's third straight selection to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team. Haring was the Conference's second-leading scorer among all freshmen (8.9 ppg) and also ranked 10th in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (.439). SO G Chelsea Wagner led the Ducks in three-point field goals made with 39 (1.62 per game).
OREGON STATE BEAVERS: The Beavers finished with a 17-15 overall record, advancing to the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament. Oregon State made its fourth consecutive appearance in the NIT and sixth overall. The Beavers posted a 1-1 record in the Pac-10 Tournament, defeating Washington State and losing to Arizona in the quarterfinals. JR G Shannon Howell averaged a team-high 17.0 points and 3.0 steals in the Pac-10 Tournament. SR C Brina Chaney, Oregon State's all-time blocked shots leader and the Pac-10's No. 4 all-time (208), finished the season ranked second on the team in scoring and rebounding with 10.6 ppg and 5.6 rpg. Chaney appeared in the starting lineup during 119 of 123 career games at OSU. SR F Hollye Chapman led the Beavers in rebounding with 6.1 rpg and finished third on the squad in scoring with 10.5 ppg. Chapman reached double figures in scoring in nine of Oregon State's final 10 games, including back-to-back double-doubles in the NIT. SR G Leilani Estavan finished sixth in the league in assists (3.90). OSU paced the Pac-10 in blocked shots (3.97 bpg) and finished second in free throw percentage (.732).
STANFORD CARDINAL: The Pac-10 Co-Champion Cardinal concluded the season with a 27-7 overall record, a second straight Pac-10 Tournament title and an appearance in the NCAA Elite Eight. SR F Nicole Powell was named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament Midwest Region. Powell finished her career ranked third in the Cardinal record books with 2,062 points in 119 games. The Cardinal earned a share of its fourth straight Conference title, and Pac-10-leading 13th all-time. Powell was named Pac-10 Player of the Year for the second time in her career and earned Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors for the second straight year. The Cardinal wrapped up the 2003-04 season ranked first in the nation in free throw percentage (.808), sixth in three-point field goals per game (7.5), 10th in three-point field goal percentage (.377), 15th in won-lost percentage (.794) and 25th in turnovers per game (14.7). Stanford led the Pac-10 in scoring defense (58.4), scoring margin (+11.9), free throw percentage (.808), field goal percentage (.377), three-point field goal percentage (.377), defensive rebounds (888) and three-point field goals made (256). The win over Missouri on Mar. 20 marked head coach Tara VanDerveer's 600th career victory. Powell, the only three-time Kodak All-American in Stanford history, was also named an Associated Press First Team All-American. Powell was a finalist for the Naismith Award, the State Farm Wade Trophy and the Wooden Award. Junior guards Susan Borchardt and Kelley Suminski were named All-Pac-10 honorable mention. Stanford owns an all-time postseason record of 40-19 (.678), including a 40-16 record in NCAA Tournament competition (.714). This is the Cardinal's 18th NCAA Tournament appearance and 17th in a row.
UCLA BRUINS: Making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 2000 season, the Bruins finished with a 17-13 overall record and tied for third place in the Pac-10 at 11-7. The Conference finish was UCLA's highest since winning the Pac-10 title in 1998-99. UCLA, which won eight of its last 11 games, fell 92-81 to Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins advanced to the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament for the second consecutive season, falling 70-66 to eventual champion Stanford. SO G Nikki Blue and FR G Noelle Quinn were named to the All-Pac-10 Team, while Blue earned a spot on the 2004 State Farm Pac-10 All-Tournament Team. Blue's 33 points against Minnesota on Mar. 21 was the most ever by a UCLA player in NCAA tournament play. Quinn became just the third Bruin freshman to be named First Team All-Conference (joining Maylana Martin in 1996-97 and Blue last season) and the eighth in Pac-10 history. Quinn, the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, led the team and finished sixth in the league in scoring (15.9 ppg) and fifth in rebounding (7.7 rpg). Quinn also finished fourth in steals (2.22 spg) and was the lone Pac-10 player to record a triple-double this season, contributing 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 97-69 win at Cal on Feb. 19. Quinn recorded seven double-doubles on the season, fourth most in the Pac-10. Blue (15.2 ppg) and SO G/F Lisa Willis (14.3 ppg ) finished seventh and 10th in the league in scoring, respectively. The lone Pac-10 team with three scorers ranked among the top-10, UCLA paced the Conference in steals (12.30 spg) and turnover margin (+4.03). The 12.30 steals per game was the seventh-best mark in the nation. UCLA allowed just 63.8 points per game this season, the third-lowest opponent scoring mark in school history, and the lowest since the 1976-77 season (59.7 ppg). The Bruins held 13 opponents to 60 points or less this year, while just seven opponents scored more than 66 points in regulation.
USC WOMEN OF TROY: USC tied for third place in the Pac-10 with an 11-7 record (15-13 overall), its best Conference finish since the 1996-97 season. The No. 3 seed, the Women of Troy fell in the Pac-10 Tournament quarterfinals to sixth-seeded Washington. USC was tough to beat at home, going 8-1 during Pac-10 play and 11-3 in nonconference action, it's best overall home record in 10 years. The Women of Troy never dropped more than two contests in a row, but did not win more than three games in succession. SR F Ebony Hoffman concluded her career as one of the most decorated USC basketball players ever. A three-time All-Pac-10 First Team selection, preseason All-American and Wooden Award nominee, she finished sixth on the Pac-10's all-time rebounding list with 1,003 boards and is only the eighth player in Conference history to reach the 1,000-rebound plateau. Her 1,687 points ranks 18th all-time in the Pac-10 for points scored. Hoffman is the first Pac-10 player ever to tally more than 1,500 career points, 1,000 rebounds and 245 steals. Also she is only the seventh player in the Pac-10 to notch 1,600 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career. Hoffman finished as the leading scorer and rebounder on her team, averaging 14.9 points and 8.1 rebounds over the season, ninth- and third-best in the Conference, respectively. SO G Meghan Gnekow was the lone USC player to start every game this season and finished third on the team in scoring (7.9 ppg) and second in rebounding (5.5 rpg). The Women of Troy drew 6,172 fans on Dec. 7, 2003, versus Connecticut, the largest Trojan crowd since 1985.
WASHINGTON HUSKIES: The Huskies made their fourth straight postseason appearance, advancing to the second round of the NIT. Washington finished with an overall record of 18-13, and placed sixth in the Pac-10 at 9-9. The Huskies advanced to the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament for the second-straight year. UW won five of its last seven games to close out the season. Washington has made seven postseason appearances over the last eight years under Coach June Daugherty. SR G Giuliana Mendiola, a three-time All-Pac-10 selection and a member of the 2004 Pac-10 All-Tournament Team, led the Conference in scoring with 21.3 points per game. Mendiola finished second in the league in assists (5.55 apg), seventh in rebounding (6.5 rpg) and is second in assist/turnover ratio (1.89). Mendiola bettered her own UW single-season assists record set last year, with 172 this season. She also set the school's new single-season scoring record with 661 points. Mendiola closed out her career as Washington's second all-time leading scorer, and ranks 12th in Pac-10 history (1,928 points). SR C Andrea Lalum (16.0 ppg/5.8 rpg) joined Mendiola on the All-Pac-10 Team, while FR G Cameo Hicks was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team. FR F Jill Bell received All-Freshman honorable mention acclaim. Washington finished second in the Conference in scoring (70.9 ppg) and second in assists (15.71 apg) and three-point field goals made (6.19 avg).
WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS: The Cougars improved yet again this season going 6-22, 2-16 in the Pac-10 under second-year head coach Sherri Murrell. Washington State doubled its Conference win total and notched four more overall wins than last year. SR F Bianca McCall was named an All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection for the second straight year. McCall finished fifth in the league with 1.04 blocks per game (27 total) and ninth with 6.1 rebounds per game. Her 12.5 points led the team in scoring. She recorded 18 boards in the 77-72 loss to Arizona on Feb. 26, it was the second-highest rebounding performance in her career. McCall reached double figures in scoring in eight of her last 10 games and tallied a team-high four 20-point games over the year. FR F Kate Benz was named aPac-10 All-Freshman honorable mention selection. She averaged a team-leading 6.7 rebounds, good enough for sixth in the Pac-10, totaled 16 blocked shots (10th in the Pac-10) and also led the team with a 42.7 field goal percentage. Her 19 boards in the 56-63 loss to San Diego State on Dec. 22 was a team best this season and also a career high. Seven different players led the Cougars in scoring throughout the season, of them McCall led 12 times and Benz led six times. This season the Cougars raised their free throw percentage from 62.9 percent in 2002-03 (10th in the Pac-10) to 71.5 percent this season (fourth in the Pac-10). They also were fourth in the league with 3.21 blocked shots per game.