Teams compete for Pac-12 Tournament crown in Seattle
• In what has been one of the most competitive seasons in Pac-12 women’s basketball history, the 2015-16 campaign culminates with the Pac-12 Tournament in Seattle. The event is in its fourth year at KeyArena, drawing three of the top four attendances in the tournament’s 14-year run. The winner of the Pac-12 Tournament will also secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
• In the final weekend of play, ARIZONA STATE and OREGON STATE claimed a share of the Conference regular-season title, the Beavers claiming the top seed in the Pac-12 Tournament for the second-straight year. ASU claimed its first title since the 2000-01 campaign. It is the second title for both programs, all time.
• Following an unprecedented and unpredicatble season, the tournament trophy is up for grabs. Four teams are ranked in this week’s national polls with ASU, OSU, STANFORD and UCLA all appearing in the top 15 of the Associated Press and USA Today/WBCA Coaches polls. Seven different Pac-12 teams earned a national ranking at some point during the season, with five teams earning spots for a Conference-best nine weeks this season. 2015-16 also featured 14 upsets of ranked teams, including two in the final weekend.
• Arizona State, Oregon State and UCLA were placed in the NCAA Selection Committee’s top 10, which was released on Monday night. The Pac-12 is the only conference to have three teams in the ranking, the trio making appearances in all three announcements. Stanford was mentioned as one of two teams also in the discussion for the top 10 in the Feb. 29 release.
• The only conference with four teams in the NCAA RPI top 10, 10 of the 12 Pac-12 teams have an RPI in the top 100.
• The Pac-12 coaches voted Oregon State’s Jamie Weisner the Pac-12 Player of the Year, making her the first player from OSU to earn the honor in 15 years. CALIFORNIA’s Kristine Anigwe was voted the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, the first Golden Bear to win the award in 10 years. OSU’s Ruth Hamblin repeated as the Conference’s Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, also earning the Conference’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the sport of women’s basketball. Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne was voted the Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the second time in her career and the first time in 15 years.
• The Conference office announced the All-Pac-12, All-Freshman and All-Defensive teams on Monday. Among the 15 players voted to the all-conference team by the league’s head coaches, OREGON’s Jillian Alleyne, UCLA’s Nirra Fields, WASHINGTON’s Kelsey Plum and Oregon State’s Sydney Weise are three-time honorees. Hamblin made her third-straight appearance on the all-defensive squad.
PAC-12 REGULAR SEASON CO-CHAMPIONS
In an intense final weekend of regular-season play with several upsets, OREGON STATE and ARIZONA STATE each claimed a share of the Pac-12 regular-season title. The Beavers reclaimed their title after winning the league last year, also grabbing the No. 1 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament by vicory of tiebreaker. The Sun Devils claimed their first regular-season title since the 2000-01 campaign. This year’s co-champions marks the sixth time in Pac-12 play where teams have shared the league crown.
PAC-12 TEAMS IN THE POLLS
Four Pac-12 teams are ranked this week in the Associated Press poll and in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches poll. OREGON STATE stands at No. 7 in both polls. It is the highest ranking of any Pac-12 team, followed by ARIZONA STATE, who comes in at No. 10 in the AP Poll and No. 11 in the coaches poll. STANFORD follows close behind at No. 11 and No. 12 in respective polls, while UCLA is No. 12 and No. 14, respectively. Five league teams were ranked in the AP poll from the week of Nov. 30 to the week of Jan. 11, it was the longest stretch of that many Pac-12 teams ranked in league history. Prior to that, five teams had been ranked in the AP on Nov. 13, 2006 for two weeks. Seven different Pac-12 teams earned a national ranking in one or both polls this season.
Hamblin Eyeing Blocks Record
OREGON STATE senior Ruth Hamblin is threatening the all-time Pac-12 blocks record. The post, who is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, has been the Conference’s blocks leader in each of the last two seasons, posting the Conference’s best average this season, as well. Already owning the Pac-12’s top-two blocking seasons, tallying a league-record 144 stuffs as a sophomore in 2013-14, she is on pace to becoming the only player in league history with three 100-block seasons, entering the tournament with 99 on the year.
|1. Stefanie Kasperski, ORE (1987-90) 402|
|2. Ruth Hamblin, OSU (2013-pres.) 394|
|3. Lisa Leslie, USC (1991-94) 321|
On Jan. 31, two Pac-12 standouts each reached 2,000 career points. WASHINGTON’s Kelsey Plum needed only 88 games to reach 2,000 career points, becoming the fastest player to reach the milestone in Conference history. Jillian Alleyne also hit the mark, becoming the 10th player in the NCAA to total 2,000 career points and 1,500 career rebounds. Plum broke into the top-10 all time in Conference history, collecting 2,226 points to date.
NCAA Selection Committee Top 10
The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Sport Committee made its third and final announcement on Feb. 29 of its top-10 rankings in seed order, giving a look into their current thought process as it relates to the NCAA Tournament selections in early March. Owning the No. 1 Conference RPI for most of the season, the Pac-12 again was the only league with three teams in the ranking as No. 6 OREGON STATE, No. 7 ARIZONA STATE and No. 10 UCLA made an appearance for the third time. Additionally, STANFORD received consideration.
PAC-12 IN THE NATIONAL STATS
As of Feb. 29, WASHINGTON’s Kelsey Plum is averaging 26.5 points per game, the third-best average in the country. One of the most prolific scorers in Pac-12 history, the junior became the fastest player to reach 2,000 career points in Pac-12 history.
Despite having a career-ending injury, OREGON senior Jillian Alleyne recorded double-doubles in the majority of the games she played in her career, including 23 this season which is second most in the country.
Also posting stats in the top-10 in the country are Oregon State’s Ruth Hamblin, averaging 3.41 bpg which ranks eighth nationally and Stanford’s Karlie Samuelson who ranks fifth nationally with a 45.3 three-point field goal percentage.