12 women's hoops games to watch on Pac-12 Networks in 2014-15
The Pac-12 Networks’ 2014-15 women’s basketball schedule is out, replete with 108 viewing options. Here’s a sample size of what you can expect on the Networks this coming season:
Nebraska at Washington State (Nov. 19, 8 p.m. PT)
Aside from this being the first women’s hoops game on the Pac-12 Networks this year, which should be reason enough to get your fix, the Cougars have been on a slow-but-steady ascent in the conference. In her seventh season at the helm in the Palouse, June Daugherty led the Cougs to their first .500 season in conference play in 19 years and played in their first postseason tournament since reaching the big dance in 1991. One of the biggest wins for Wazzu last year was at 10th-ranked Nebraska, a perennial NCAA tournament team that reached the round of 32 in 2014. The rematch should be a treat.
North Carolina at Oregon (Nov. 23, 3 p.m. PT)
This will be your first chance to get a glimpse of the new-look Ducks under first-year head coach Kelly Graves. The Ducks might not be putting up triple digits with regularity anymore, but the resume of the new guy is impressive (even if it doesn’t include an NBA title like Paul Westhead’s did). Mark Few created a WCC dynasty at Gonzaga in men’s hoops and Graves did the same on the women’s side of things: Gonzaga won 10 WCC titles in a row to close out his stay in Spokane. It figures to only be a matter of time before that magic translates to Eugene.
Louisville at Cal (Dec. 21, 2 p.m. PT)
Who doesn’t love a recent Final Four rematch? The Golden Bears led much of the way in their 2013 battle with the Cardinals in New Orleans, but Louisville outscored Cal 37-20 in the second half and took the lead for good in the final 90 seconds in a 64-57 decision. Sounds like it’s time to even the score for Gottlieb’s Group.
Notre Dame at UCLA (Dec. 28, 1 p.m. PT)
Not too many programs have had the level of success enjoyed by the Fighting Irish. Muffet McGraw has led Notre Dame to four straight Final Fours and the Irish should figure prominently on the national scene again in 2014-15. In its lone foray into Pac-12 territory last year, Notre Dame was given all it could handle by an up-and-coming Oregon State team that would eventually reach the round of 32. Could a solid performance in front of a pro-Bruin crowd serve as a springboard into Pac-12 play for a young UCLA team that features six true freshmen?
Texas A&M at Washington (Dec. 29, 6 p.m. PT)
If the Dawgs want to return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007, then a marquee non-conference victory is a must. As 2011 NCAA champions and 2014 Elite Eight participants, Texas A&M certainly fits the bill. With a game at Oklahoma to open the season and a tussle with Florida State in Mexico on the ledger in November, the Dawgs will have their last non-Pac-12 test against the Aggies. Washington missed out on a big opportunity last year in a 74-68 loss to the Aggies in College Station, so can the Huskies even the score?
UCLA at USC (Dec. 30, 6 p.m. PT)
It’s the Pac-12 opener and what better way to get league things going than with this fierce rivalry? These two teams opened the Pac-12 slate against each other last season (on Dec. 30, no less), with USC winning a nail-biter 56-54. The Trojans swept the Bruins last season, while UCLA went 2-0 against USC the season prior. Maybe we can have a split this time around, though I’m not sure that’ll make either side happy.
Oregon State at USC (Jan. 5, 7 p.m. PT)
You won’t have to wait too long before we see a rematch of the 2014 Pac-12 tournament championship game. The Trojans wrapped up a thrilling run in Seattle that included an upset of top-seeded Stanford with a 71-62 triumph over Oregon State to nab the NCAA tournament auto-bid.
Arizona State at Arizona (Jan. 8, 5 p.m. PT/6 p.m. MT)
I believe it was Forrest Gump who once said “Arizona-Arizona State women’s basketball games are like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get.” The Wildcats only won one conference game last year, but it was against these Sun Devils, who just so happened to be an NCAA tournament team. Not only did Arizona win, but it did so in convincing fashion – 68-49 was the final score. Oh yeah, and that happened just five days after Arizona State beat Arizona 60-36. The year before, the two teams played a double-overtime game and a 59-58 stomach-churner, both won by the Sun Devils. Good luck trying to predict a winner in this one.
Stanford at Washington (Jan. 9, 7 p.m. PT)
Stanford revisits the site of its only 2013-14 conference loss early in the 2014-15 league slate. Despite using just seven players (and one of them only playing two minutes), Washington lit up the scoreboard in a thrilling 87-82 win over the Pac-12 monarchs thanks to a 23-point performance from Kelsey Plum. If Stanford wants a lil’ revenge against Mike Neighbors’ bunch, the three-ball will be key: Washington shot 41 percent from beyond the arc in the five-point victory, while Stanford connected on just 22 percent of its downtown attempts.
Utah at Washington (Jan. 25, 11 a.m. PT/noon MT)
These squads played three pretty memorable games last year. Washington won the first two by one point apiece (including an OT grinder), but Utah defeated the Dawgs in the Pac-12 tourney to effectively end Washington’s slim chances of getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Senior guard (and more importantly, San Jose native) Jazmine Davis and potential future Pac-12 Player of the Year Kelsey Plum are players to watch on the U-Dub side, while Utah will welcome back Taryn Wicijowski, a double-double waiting to happen who missed the 2013-14 season with an ACL injury.
Stanford at Cal (Feb. 18, 7 p.m. PT)
Ah, the ole’ Battle of the Bay. These two have finished 1-2 in the Pac-12 standings in each of the last three years (Oregon State tied for second with Cal in 2013-14) and have had some memorable battles in recent times – like the overtime thriller at Stanford in 2012 (won by the Cardinal), or Cal’s win on The Farm in 2013 that broke Stanford’s 81-game conference winning streak.
Colorado at Arizona (Feb. 27, 5 p.m. PT/6 p.m. MT)
Yeah, enough about Arizona going 1-17 in Pac-12 play last year, but win No. 2 could have and perhaps should have very well come against the Buffs on Arizona’s Senior Day. The Wildcats built a 16-point halftime lead but Colorado held ‘em to just 10 second-half points to force overtime; the Buffs eventually won 61-56. These squads meet in Tucson on the final weekend of the regular season to try to better position themselves for a Pac-12 tourney run.