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Pac-12 women's basketball teams begin to jockey for tournament seedings

Feb 4, 2014
Arizona State Athletics

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Pac-12 women’s basketball teams are passed the mid-point of the Conference season and with the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament just a month away, wins and losses begin to take on more weight. Additionally, teams in NCAA Tournament contention are looking to finish strong and nab one of the higher seeds, while teams on the bubble have four more weeks to improve their resume ... Rivalry matchups set for this week are between ARIZONA and No. 11/16 ARIZONA STATE, while UCLA and USC wrap up its series this week ... The Sun Devils’ No. 11 Associated Press ranking this week is their highest since being ranked No. 10 in the final poll of the 2006-07 season. They are also ranked No. 16 in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches poll. Also ranked this week is STANFORD, who rises to No. 3 for the marking the highest ranking since the first couple of weeks of the season. CALIFORNIA is at No. 23/22, making it 34 consecutive-weeks the Golden Bears have been in the polls ... Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week for a Conference-record seventh time this season. She continues to have a stellar campaign as she wraps up her collegiate career, averaging 27.1 points per game and 12.0 rebounds per game, which rank third and ninth, respectively, in the country. Her 63.3 percent shooting accuracy is second-best in the nation, as well. OREGON’s Chrishae Rowe was the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week for a league-record sixth time this season. Rowe continues to be the top-scoring freshman in the country, averaging 22.3 ppg for the Ducks, who continue to boast the best scoring average in the country at 95.3 ... Speaking of the Ducks, Rowe’s teammate, Jillian Alleyne, is the nation’s rebounding leader at 15.5 rpg ... Eight games are slated to be televised on the Pac-12 Networks this week, with th Wildcats visiting the Sun Devils on Tuesday night to kick off the week. Stanford will visit Washington on Sunday for a game that will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Tuesday, February 4
Arizona at #11/16 Arizona State, 7:30 p.m. MT P12N
Friday, February 7
#3/3 Stanford at Washington State, 6 p.m. PT P12N
Utah at Oregon, 7 p.m. PT Live Stream
#23/22 California at Washington, 8 p.m. PT P12N
Colorado at Oregon State P12N 8 p.m. PT
Saturday, February 8
UCLA at USC, 3 p.m. PT P12N
Sunday, February 9
Utah at Oregon State, 12 p.m. PT P12N
#11/16 Arizona State at Arizona, 1 p.m. MT P12N
#3/3 Stanford at Washington, 12:30 PT ESPNU
#23/22 California at Washington State, 2 p.m. PT P12N
Colorado at Oregon, 2 p.m. PT Live Stream
* game times local to site; Live stream of games is available at
P12N indicates televised match on Pac-12 Networks.
ARIZONA (4-17, 0-10)
UA has come close to snapping its lengthy losing skid, now at ten games. Ten of its losses have been by 10 points or less, including five of its seven Pac-12 setbacks, including a 60-57 loss to Utah ... 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 (12.0) and steals (1.2) ... 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 (19-3, 8-2)
After starting the season unranked, the Sun Devils made their way up to No. 11 this week in the Associated Press poll, their highest ranking since Dec. 21, 2009 ... ASU already 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 16.4 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 43.9 percent clip ... ASU’s success can also be attributed to its balanced scoring, as four players are averaging at least 8.0 ppg. RS-SR G Deja Mann leads the way with 11.5 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 (14-7, 6-4)
The Golden Bears have been ranked all season and five of their seven losses have been to ranked opponents, including most recently two-straight to then No. 4 Stanford and earlier in the season two losses against opponents ranked in the top three at the time of the meeting ... After playing in just the first two games of the season (for a total of 34 minutes), Cal welcomed back national player of the year candidate Gennifer Brandon, who scored her 1,000th-career point in an overtime win over Oregon ... In Brandon’s absence, JR F Reshanda Gray has been a tremendous force for the Bears, averaging a team-best 16.0 ppg and 7.6 rpg, more than double her scoring average from last year and over 2.0 rpg better than last year. She has also been a starter in every game this season, compared to just one game last year. She’s been playing even better since league play began, averaging 16.4 ppg and 8.7 rpg ... JR G Brittany Boyd is leading the Pac-12 with 5.5 apg and 3.1 steals per game, while scoring 14.8 ppg.
COLORADO (13-8, 3-7)
Colorado reeled off nine wins in a row to start the season, but all eight of their losses have come in the last 12 games, three of which were to top-25 foes, including Louisville and Stanford, who are both ranked in the top five ... 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 more weeks ... The Buffs have three players averaging double-digit scoring with Jen Reese leading the way at 12.5 ppg.  2013 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Arielle Roberson is second in scoring (12.8 ppg), while leading the team in rebounding average (7.8 rpg) ... After snapping a four-game skid with a 68-47 win over Arizona, the Buffs lost a couple of single-digit games, a two-point decision to then-No. 14 ASU and a three-point loss to Utah, but got back on the winning track with in the rivalry rematch 61-45 at home.
OREGON (12-9, 3-7)
The Ducks lead the nation in scoring at 95.3 points per game, picking up Conference wins over Washington, Washington State and Arizona and falling just short of an upset bid over No. 15 Arizona State ... UO has tripled its win total from a year ago ... Oregon has improved its scoring by nearly 35.0 ppg from last year, reaching triple digits eight times and tallying at least 90 points 11 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, tying for the team lead and ranking 14th in the nation at 22.3 ppg. She scored a Pac-12 season-high 41 points in a win on Dec. 4 ... SO F Jillian Alleyne leads NCAA Division I in rebounding, averaging 15.5 rpg, after collecting 25 in a win over Washington. She is also the country’s double-doubles leader at 19 ... Rowe was named Freshman of the Week for the second-consecutive week and a record sixth time overall this season.
OREGON STATE (13-9, 5-5)
The Beavers split at the Arizona schools over the weekend to keep their league mark at .500. OSU has surpassed both its Pac-12 win total and overall season total from a year ago ... OSU has posted six wins of 10-points or less, with three of those coming by five or less points ... OSU ranks eighth in the country in blocks (5.9 bpg), led by Ruth Hamblin’s 3.45 bpg, which ranks fifth 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 73.1 ppg as compared to 57.3 ppg a season ago. But continues to maintain a strong defensive stance, limiting opponents to just 36.2 field goal percentage, which ranks third 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 13.1 ppg.
STANFORD (19-1, 8-0)
The Cardinal is ranked No. 3 in the country this week, the highest of the seaon, and is riding a 20-game win streak. Its only loss of the season was to defending NCAA Champion Connecticut ... Among the wins during the streak is a victory over then-top five, perrenial power Tennessee, handing the Lady Vols their first loss of the season ... 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 leading the Pac-12 in scoring (27.0), also ranking third in the country. Her 12.0 rpg are ninth in the nation and she is second in the country in field goal percentage at 63.3. Ogwumike became the Pac-12’s all-time leading rebounder ... 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 ... Ogwumike was named to the Wooden Award midseason watch list, while JR G Amber Orrange was named to the Nancy Lieberman Award watch list.
UCLA (11-12, 5-6)
UCLA snapped a three-game losing streak, defeating Washington State at home ... 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 ... SO G Nirra Fields and SR F Atonye Nyingifa have been trading the scoring lead, with Nyingifa leading the team in scoring this week at 18.0 ppg, while Fields is averaging 17.2 ppg. Nyingifa is the team’s rebounding leader at 9.0, grabbing 9.7 rpg in Pac-12 play.
USC (14-9, 7-4)
USC already has three more wins compared to last season and has equaled its league win total from a year ago, as well ... 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 ... USC has lost its last three games, including a setback at No. 3/3 Stanford. Three of the team’s four 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 16.0 and 16.3 ppg, respectively, while Harberts is grabbing a team-best 7.7 rpg, including 8.4 rpg in Pac-12 play.
UTAH (10-11, 3-7)
The Utes have won three of their last five, splitting the rivalry series with Colorado ... Five of the team’s last six games have been decided by three points or less, including an overtime loss ... 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 17.4 ppg and 10.1 rpg. ... FR F Emily Potter is one of two players scoring in double figures, contributing 11.3 ppg and is the team’s second-leading rebounder at 6.8 rpg.
WASHINGTON (12-9, 5-5)
The Huskies won back-to-back games in Los Angeles, bringing their Pac-12 record to .500, while winning four of their last six games ... One of its Pac-12 wins was an upset of then-No. 20/21 Colorado for the team’s first win over a ranked opponent this season ... UW has three players averaging double digits with FR G Kelsey Plum leading the way with 19.8 ppg, followed by JR PG Jazmine Davis at 19.4 poingts per game - both in the top five in the Pac-12. Both have been even better in Pac-12 games, averaging 21.4 ppg and 20.1 ppg, respectively ... Plum is the second-highest scoring freshman in the country, behind Oregon’s Chrishae Rowe ... Washington is under the direction of first-time head coach Mike Neighbors who was an assistant coach last season.
The Cougs have hit a rough patch, losing four of their last five after opening the Pac-12 slate with a 5-0 record. One of the reason for the skid is injuries. WSU’s 59-57 loss to Utah was without second-leading scorer SO G Lia Galdeira (18.0 ppg). The loss to the Utes started a three-game losing streak, before Washington State ended it with a four-point victory at USC. The Cougs, however, then lost at UCLA ... WSU’s 12 wins surpasses all of last year’s total, while the six Pac-12 victories equals last year’s effort ... WSU posted signature wins over then-No. 10 Nebraska and then-top-25 foes Arizona State and Colorado at home ... The Cougs’ 5-0 start was their first-ever in Pac-10/12 history ... 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 their first win in Seattle since 1993 later that week ... WSU has shown significant improvement in its scoring, averaging 72.5 ppg. Washington State averaged just 59.4 ppg all season last year.