This Week in Pac-10 Women's Basketball
March 13, 2007
@ Los Angeles, Calif.
No. 3 Arizona State vs. No. 14 UC Riverside
Sat., March 17 - 7:30 p.m. PT
@ Stanford, Calif.
No. 2 Stanford vs. No. 15 Idaho State
Sat., March 17 - 1:30 p.m. PT
@ Pittsburgh, Pa.
No. 8 California vs. No. 9 Notre Dame
Sun., March 18 - 12 noon p.m. ET
@ Minneapolis, Minn.
No. 6 Iowa State vs. No. 11 Washington
Sat., March 17 - 11 a.m. ET
Arizona State could play winner of No. 6 Louisville-No. 11 BYU
Stanford could play winner of No. 7 Old Dominion-No. 10 Florida State
California could play winner of No. 1 North Carolina-No. 16 Prairie View
Washington could play winner of No. 3 Georgia-No. 14 Belmont
CONFERENCE POSTSEASON NOTES
FOUR TEAMS SENT TO NCAAs
For the third straight season, at least four Pac-10 teams are going 'dancing,' as announced by the NCAA on ESPN's selection show ... STANFORD (28-4) earned the league's automatic berth with its win in the 2007 State Farm Pac-10 Tournament Mon., Mar. 5 ... The Cardinal, a No. 2 seed, will host the first and second rounds on the Stanford campus, in the comfortable confines of Maples Pavilion ... ARIZONA STATE (28-4) earned a No. 3 seed and will take to Los Angeles for its first games of the 2007 postseason ... Two Pac-10 teams are playing in the Dallas regional, No. 8 CALIFORNIA (23-8) and No. 11 WASHINGTON (18-12) ... The Golden Bears begin play in Pittsburgh, Pa., while the Huskies head to Minneapolis, Minn. ... The Pac-10 has sent at least four teams to the NCAA Tournament for three consecutive seasons, including last year's history-making six-team tournament and 2005's five-team tournament.
PAC-10 vs. NON-CONFERENCE FOES
The Pac-10 has been impressive against non-conference foes this season, amassing a 70-37 (.654) record during regular season play ... The last time the Conference picked up 70 wins outside of league action was 1994-95 when it earned an almost identical record at 70-34 (.673) and Stanford advanced to the Final Four ... The Pac-10 has only surpassed the 70-non-conference win plateau five times in its history, also including the 1986-87, 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.
OREGON PREPARES FOR WNIT
OREGON (16-13), playing some of its best basketball as of late, earned a berth into the 2007 Women's National Invitation Tournament, earning a bye in the first round ... The Ducks will host the winner of the San Diego-UC Santa Barbara matchup at MacArthur Court between March 16-19 ... Oregon is making its fourth overall appearance in the WNIT and first since 2002, when rookie head coach Bev Smith led the Ducks all the way to the championship ... That year, UO played four of five tournament games on its home floor, including the deciding 54-52 victory over Houston ... Oregon is 10-1 all-time in WNIT competition, while the Pac-10 is 39-23 overall, last sending a team in 2005-06 when OREGON STATE earned the WNIT berth ... The Pac-10 has earned five WNIT championships (ARIZONA-1, Oregon-2 and Oregon State-2).
2007 STATE FARM PAC-10 TOURNAMENT
Stanford picked up its fourth Pac-10 Tournament title in the six-year history of the event, knocking off No. 2-seeded Arizona State on Mon., Mar. 5, 62-55 ... The Cardinal claimed three wins in three days, helped by the return of JR G Candice Wiggins who was virtually unstoppable, securing a 29-point semifinal outing, which included a Pac-10 record eight three-pointers made ... Wiggins was named the Tournament's Most Outstanding Player, and was joined on the All-Tournament team by teammates SR F/C Brooke Smith and FR F/C Jayne Appel ... The Sun Devils claimed two wins in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, bringing their season win total to 28 on the year ... SR F Emily Westerberg was also named to the All-Tournament team ... Team records set in this year's tournament included: fewest field goals allowed in a tournament (Arizona, 99), highest three-point field goal percentage in a game (Stanford, .714), fewest free throws allowed in a tournament (California, 11) and fewest offensive rebounds allowed in a tournament (California, 20) ... Individual records set in this year's tournament included: most three-point field goals made in a tournament (Wiggins, 14), most three-point field goals attempted in a tournament (Wiggins, 25) and most offensive rebounds in a game (Appel, 8).
The State Farm Wade Trophy committee, along with the WBCA and NAGWS, announced the Top-12 finalists for the award on Tuesday, which included UCLA SR G Noelle Quinn and Stanford JR G Candice Wiggins ... Both Quinn and Wiggins had tremendous seasons as each ranked in the Pac-10's Top-10 in scoring (Quinn-4th, 17.2 and Wiggins-6th, 16.9) ... The candidates were selected by a vote of committee members comprised of leading basketball coaches, journalists and basketball administrators ... The State Farm Wade Trophy will be presented Sat., March 31.
No. 3 ARIZONA STATE (28-4)
NCAA: vs. No. 14 UC Riverside; Los Angeles, Calif.
Arizona State, ranked as high as eighth by this week's Associated Press poll, earned a No. 3 seed in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, its highest seed ever in program history ... The Sun Devils will open play against No. 14 UC Riverside in the Greensboro portion of the bracket ... This will be the first meeting between the two schools ... ASU and UCR will play Sat., March 17 at approximately 7:30 p.m. PT at the Galen Center in Los Angeles ... The winner of this game will face either No. 6 Louisville or No. 11 BYU in Monday's second round game (Mon., March 19, time TBA) ... The games will be aired on ESPN2 ... Arizona State is making its third-straight trip to NCAA postseason play, eighth overall, and is looking for some revenge as it was bounced in the second round last season, despite high expectations ... The Sun Devils have been as high as a No. 4 seed three times, including last season in the Albuquerque regional ... The team is led by a trio of players who have each played in two NCAA postseasons, including SR F Emily Westerberg, SR F Aubree Johnson and JR G Reagan Pariseau ... Westerberg is a solid shooter, ranking atop the Conference in free throw percentage at a .859 clip (116-of-135), good enough to place her at No. 19 in the country ... She also ranks seventh in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage at .521 (138-of-265) ... Named to the Pac-10 All-Tournament team, Westerberg is a three-time All-Pac-10 selection, guiding Arizona State to a 28-4 overall record, while setting a school record for wins in a season (including a school record 16 Pac-10 wins) ... ASU has just four defeats on the season, three of which came to Pac-10 regular season and Tournament champion, Stanford ... With the aforementioned 28 wins, the Sun Devils have now won 20 or more games three years in a row, something that has happened only one other time in the program's history ... With a 60-53 win over California in the Pac-10 semifinals, head coach Charli Turner Thorne earned career win No. 200, bolstering her career winning percentage to an even .600 (200-133) ... Turner Thorne, the winningest coach in ASU history, ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in career wins ... Arizona State plays to its strengths: a deep bench, a physical defense and a shared attitude ... The Devils have ranked atop the league in assists all season, currently sitting at No. 1 with an 18.56 assists per game average.
No. 8 CALIFORNIA (23-8)
NCAA: vs. No. 9 Notre Dame; Pittsburgh, Pa.
A Cinderella story no more, California comes into the 2007 NCAA Tournament with high expectations following its 23-8 season and trip to the Pac-10 Tournament semifinals ... The eighth-seeded Golden Bears are set to face No. 9 Notre Dame in the first round of play in the Dallas portion of the bracket ... Cal must travel to Pittsburgh, Pa. for opening round games and should they win, will face either No. 1 North Carolina or No. 16 Prairie View in second round action ... The Bears tip with the Fighting Irish at 12 noon ET on Sun., March 18 on ESPN2 ... It will be the first meeting between the two teams ... The Bears, who at 23-8 have equaled the program's best record through 31 games, will be making their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance and second since 1993 ... Last season, 10th-seeded Cal lost to seventh-seeded St. John's, 78-68, in the first round of NCAAs in University Park, Pa. ... California is led by the services of two All-American candidates in SO F/C Devanei Hampton, Pac-10 Player of the Year, and SO F/C Ashley Walker, who carried the team through much of the non-conference season ... Hampton and Walker combine for a physical and intimidating post as Walker ranks third in the Conference in scoring (17.2 ppg), first in rebounding (8.5 rpg) and Hampton ranks seventh and third in those same categories (16.7 ppg and 8.0 rpg) ... Hampton, a finalist for the WBCA/Kodak All-American team, averaged 21 points and 8.5 rebounds in the Pac-10 Tournament, while Walker posted a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds in her first game, 13 points and seven rebounds in her second game ... Pac-10 Coach of the Year Joanne Boyle has turned around the Cal program in just two short seasons, making back-to-back postseason appearances, while amassing a 41-20 (.672) record ... Along with its inside presence, Cal relies on a heady, young guard in FR Natasha Vital running the point ... Vital has virtually played every minute of every game since SO G Alexis Gray-Lawson went down with an ACL tear early in the season ... The Bears have five victories over the 2007 NCAA Tournament field, including wins over Stanford, Washington, UC Riverside, Belmont and Harvard ... California plays to its strengths: solid post production, rebounding and defense ... The Bears lead the league in rebounding defense at 32.7 snags per game.
WNIT: vs. San Diego or UC Santa Barbara; Eugene, Ore.
Oregon hits the WNIT trail with a home court contest between March 16-19, facing the winner of the San Diego-UC Santa Barbara first round matchup ... The Ducks are making their fourth overall appearance in the WNIT and first since 2002 when they claimed the championship ... Oregon is 10-1 all-time in WNIT competition ... UO has captured two titles in three attempts and has a good shot at claiming another as it is has been playing well deep into the season, picking up six wins in the last 10 games ... Oregon is led by SR F Eleanor Haring who leads the team with a 12.8 ppg average ... SR F/C Carolyn Ganes led the team with 19 points on 8-of-20 shooting in the Ducks' Pac-10 Tournament quarterfinal game ... She added five rebounds and one blocked shot in her 33 minutes played ... Oregon finished the season at 16-13 overall, sixth in the Conference with an 8-10 record ... The Ducks play strong team defense, ranking fourth in the league in scoring defense (60.9 ppg) and third in field goal percentage defense (.383) ... The squad is also deadly from long range, pacing the Pac-10 with a .366 clip from beyond the arc ... Leading the way for the Ducks in that category is FR G Taylor Lilley, a Pac-10 Freshman honorable mention selection, who leads the league with a .507 percentage from three-point range ... Lilley has hit on 35 of her 69 attempts, which also ranks her fifth in the league with a 1.59 average ... Lilley finished just shy of the Pac-10 record for three-point field goal percentage in a season (California's Kristin Iwanaga, 2005, .524).
No. 2 STANFORD (28-4)
NCAA: vs. No. 15 Idaho State; Stanford, Calif.
With the Pac-10's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, it's no wonder the Cardinal earned the league's highest seed at No. 2 in the Fresno regional ... Should Stanford advance to the Final Four in Cleveland, it will have done so without having left the state of California ... The Cardinal will play host to No. 15 Idaho State on Sat., March 17 at approximately 1:30 p.m. PT on ESPN ... The winner of this game will advance to the second round to take on No. 7 Old Dominion or No. 10 Florida State ... This will be the first meeting ever between the Cardinal and the Bengals ... Stanford owns a 46-18 all-time record in NCAA Tournament competition and is making its 20th consecutive appearance and 21st overall ... The Cardinal has advanced to the Elite Eight in each of the last three seasons, finishing one victory away from making its first Final Four trip since 1997 ... One of the most storied women's basketball programs in NCAA history, Stanford has won two national championships, advanced to six Final Fours, 11 Elite Eights and 14 Sweet 16s ... All-American JR G Candice Wiggins leads the way for Stanford and is joined by SR F/C Brooke Smith and FR F/C Jayne Appel ... Wiggins, playing sore or hurt for much of the year, flourished in the Pac-10 Tournament setting the record for most three-pointers in a game (8) against USC in the semifinals ... Wiggins finished the season averaging 16.9 ppg, good enough to rank sixth in the Conference ... She has now hit 201 career three-pointers with more than a season to go to break the Pac-10 record of 285 set by Arizona's Lisa Griffith in 1997 ... Smith, Appel and SR F/C Kristen Newlin provide a strong presence in the paint having totaled 17 double-doubles among the three of them this season ... Stanford plays to its strengths: sound defense, ball sharing, limited turnovers and solid shot selection ... The Cardinal has given up on average just 56.8 ppg this season, while scoring 70.9 themselves ... Stanford has a roster full of smart players, who pass the ball well and rarely turn the ball over ... The team's 1.18 assist to turnover ratio ranks atop the league, as it averages almost 18 assists per game ... Smith, who is 6-3, is one of the best passers on the team, ranking ninth in the league in assists (3.59) ... How deep Stanford goes into the Tournament will depend on how the point guard situation is handled ... Wiggins is likely to share this load with FR Melanie Murphy who has looked solid since taking over for FR JJ Hones ... Murphy has done what has been asked of her in taking care of the ball and setting up her teammates to score ... Head coach Tara VanDerveer can also use a bigger lineup moving Appel into the starting five.
No. 11 WASHINGTON (18-12)
NCAA: vs. No. 6 Iowa State; Minneapolis, Minn.
Washington earned a No. 11 seed in this year's NCAA Tournament and is set to face six-seeded Iowa State in the opening round of play ... The Huskies are making their second-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament after advancing as far as the second round last season ... This year marks Washington's 16th trip to the NCAAs in program history and sixth under 11-year head coach June Daugherty ... Washington and Iowa State will meet up Sat., March 17 at 12 noon ET in Minneapolis, Minn. ... The game will be aired on ESPN2, with the winner facing either No. 3 Georgia or No. 14 Belmont ... The Huskies, like California, are in the Dallas portion of the bracket ... UW and Iowa State have met up twice before, with the Huskies getting the best of the Cyclones in both competitions (64-63, in Seattle on Dec, 22, 2002; 76-55 in Ames, Iowa, Dec. 21, 2003) ... Washington is lead by SR G and all-Pac-10 selection Cameo Hicks, who ranks fifth in the league with a 17.1 scoring average ... Despite bowing out in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament, Hicks put up 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting, while grabbing five rebounds, one steal and dishing out an assist ... UW has a scrappy point guard in JR Emily Florence who has been a thief in the backcourt, ranking atop the league in steals at 2.23 per game ... Florence embodies the tenacity of the Washington team, often described as 'blue-collar' ... The Huskies are relentless on the boards, ranking first in the Pac-10 in offensive rebounds at 16.77 per game ... These second chance opportunities help Washington average 71.8 points per game, second in the league ... With the aforementioned offensive rebounds and scoring ability, UW will also make opponents pay if they don't take care of the ball ... The Huskies are forcing over 20 turnovers a game, while committing just about 15 themselves, good enough for a +5.13 margin to rank atop the Conference ... With an 18-12 overall record, the Huskies are just two victories shy of the 20-win plateau, which has been just out of reach since the 2002-03 season ... Last year's squad finished with 19 wins and in a tie for fourth place in the Conference ... Washington is 15-15 all-time in NCAA Tournament play, 8-4 in first round games, but just 5-6 in second round action.