This week in Pac-12 women's basketball

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OREGON and USC are off to strong starts and looking like improved teams from a year ago after both finished in the bottom half of the Pac-12 standings. Sporting identical 6-0 records, it is the Trojans’ best start since 1993-94 while the Ducks boast their best start since 2011-12. Meanwhile, seventh-ranked OREGON STATE continues to build on its successes from a year ago that saw the Beavers claim their first-ever league regular season crown and are 5-0 to start the season ... Five Pac-12 teams are ranked this week in the Associated Press poll. After OSU’s top-10 rating, STANFORD is No. 16, ARIZONA STATE is No. 17, CALIFORNIA is No. 18 and UCLA is tied for No. 24. In the USA Today/WBCA Coaches poll, the Beavers are No. 7, the Cardinal is No. 15, Cal is No. 17 and ASU is at No. 19. The Trojans, Ducks and WASHINGTON are receiving votes in one or both pollings ... One of the most prolific scorer’s already in Pac-12 history, UW junior Kelsey Plum accounts for half of the six 30-point performances already turned in in the young 2015 campaign. She scored a season high 34 in last week’s victory over Texas Tech. Her 28.0 points per game average leads the Pac-12 so far ... Stanford’s Lili Thompson was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after leading the Cardinal to a 3-1 week. Cal’s Kristine Anigwe was voted the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week for the second time this season ... The Huskies will get another chance at a ranked opponent when it hosts No. 21/22 Oklahoma on the Pac-12 Networks on Dec. 6.  Alleyne’s total numbers are impressive, but her career average is as well. Having averaged at least 11.9 rpg every season, her career average of 14.5 rpg through three seasons would break the all-time record currently held by former UCLA standout Natalie Williams who maintained a 12.8 rpg in her career from 1991-94.

RECORDS WATCH

OREGON’s Jillian Alleyne has been one of the Conference’s top rebounders since arriving on campus in 2012-13, leading the Pac-12 in rebounding the last two seasons. It is not surprising then that she ranks among the great Pac-12 rebounders of all time and is second only to former three-time All-American and 2014 John R. Wooden Award winner Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford).

1. Chiney Ogwumike, STAN (2011-14)     1567
2. Jillian Alleyne, ORE (2012-pres.)    1423
3. Kayla Pedersen, STAN (2008-11)     1266
4. Jayne Appel, STAN (2007-10)    1263
5. Nnemkadi Ogwumike, STAN (2009-12)     1226

COACHING MILESTONES
Both COLORADO coach Linda Lappe and OREGON coach Kelly Graves reached coaching milestones over the Thanksgiving break. Lappe, in her sixth season at her alma mater, picked up Division I win No. 100 on Nov. 27 in a win over Massachusetts, while Graves, who is in his second season in Eugene but has logged 19 seasons on a Division I sideline, picked up his 400th-career victory the following day on Nov. 28.

Other coaches approaching century milestones are ARIZONA STATE’s Charli Turner Thorne, who needs just three wins for her 400th in 22 seasons of coaching; ARIZONA’s Niya Butts needs seven victories to No. 100 in eight years as a head coach; OREGON STATE head coach Scott Rueck is five victories short of 100 Division I victories; and USC’s Cynthia Cooper needs seven to get to No. 200.

WASHINGTON STATE head coach June Daugherty has been a head coach for 27 years and won career-No. 400 last season, but is approaching her 100th victory at WSU, needing just five more wins.

ALL-STAR RETURNS
Coming off a season where five Pac-12 teams earned NCAA Tournament bids for the second-straight season, the Conference looks to be as competitive as ever thanks, in part, to the return of eight of the 15 All-Pac-12 honorees from 2014-15. Defending regular-season Pac-12 Champion OREGON STATE has the most all-Conference honorees returning, welcoming back three, including the 2014-15 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in SR C Ruth Hamblin.

OFFENSIVE RETURNS
Eight of the Conference teams return its leading scorer from a year ago eight also welcome back its top rebounder, including the Pac-12’s leading scorer and rebounder in SR F Chiney Ogwumike of Stanford.

Last year, the Pac-12 had five of the nation’s top 25 rebounders and they are all back this season (stats are final from the 2012-13 season): Ogwumike (12.9), Oregon’s Jillian Alleyne (11.9), California’s Gennifer Brandon (11.1), Washington’s Aminah Williams (10.8) and Utah’s Michelle Plouffe (9.4). 

NEW FACES & FAMILIAR FACES
The 2015-16 campaign welcomes a new face. New to the Conference is Utah’s head coach Lynne Roberts. Roberts landed in Salt Lake City by way of the University of the Pacific. Last year she was named Co-West Coast Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Tigers to a 21-10 record.

Roberts joins an impressive cast of coaches across the 12 schools with a collective 146 years of experience. Leading the way is Hall of Fame head coach Tara Van Derveer, who will be on the Stanford sideline for her 30th season and 37 years for her career. ARIZONA STATE’s Charlie Turner Thorne also boasts over 20 years of experience, entering her 22nd season as a head coach and 19th with the Sun Devils. WASHINGTON STATE head coach June Daugherty is logging her 27th season as a head coach, nine of which have been spent in Pullman. Just shy of 20 years of coaching is OREGON’s Kelly Graves, who has been on the sidelines for 19 seasons, including two in Eugene.

ROAD TO INDIANAPOLIS
Teams across the country will be focused on getting to Indianapolis this season, the site of the 2016 NCAA Women’s Final Four. To get to Indy, teams will have to go through regional site at Bridgeport, Conn., Dallas, Lexington and Sioux Falls, S.D. The first and second round of the tournament will take place on 16 campus sites with the top-16 seeds hosting.

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