Pac-12 Claims No. 1 RPI as League Play Continues

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Boasting the No. 1 RPI last two months of the season last year, the Pac-12 again claims the top conference rating in the country. All but one team has a RPI in the top 100, including seven rated in the top 27 ... Six teams are ranked in the national polls this week, a week after seven appeared in the Associated Press poll, a Pac-12 record. UCLA is No. 7 in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches poll, the team’s highest ranking since 1999-2000. All six teams are also ranked in the top 20 ... No. 10/10 STANFORD’s Tara VanDerveer needs just eight more wins to reach 1,000 for her career, a feat only achieved by one other women’s coach in NCAA history and just three coaches (men’s or women’s) across all divisions all-time ... This week’s games kicks off with a top-20 clash between No. 16/12 OREGON STATE and No. 20/20 CALIFORNIA. The Golden Bears are looking to bounce back from a double-overtime loss to No. 19/19 Arizona State, while the Beavers look to build on an upset of No. 12/11 WASHINGTON over the weekend ... On Pac-12 Networks’ Sunday Swish, a matchup between OSU and the Cardinal closes out the week’s action. The team’s rank 14th and 16th, respectively, in the NCAA in scoring defense, both limiting opponents to under 54 points per game ... The NCAA’s top-three active career leaders in 3-point percentage are from the Pac-12 with OREGON’s Lexi Bando (46.2), Stanford’s Karlie Samuelson (42.8) and OSU’s Sydney Wiese (41.2) sitting in those spots ...  The Bruins’ Monique Billings is the Pac-12 Player of the Week, while WASHINGTON STATE’s Chanelle Molina is the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week.
Six Pac-12 teams are ranked this week in the Associated Press and USA Today/WBCA Coaches polls, a week after the Conference posted a league-record seven ranked teams in the AP poll.

UCLA is leading the way at No. 9 in the AP poll and No. 7 in the coachespoll, the highest-ever ranking for the Bruins since 1999-2000. Stanford follows in the top 10 in both pollings, coming in at No. 10 while Washington is No. 12 and No. 11, respectively. Oregon State is ranked No.16 by the writer’s and No. 12 by the coahces. Arizona State and California round out the ranked Pac-12 teams at No. 19 and No. 20, respectively, in both polls.

Three more teams are receving votes in one or both polls (Utah, Colorado, USC).

In the latest ESPN Bracketology dated Jan. 3, ESPN’s Charlie Creme believes nine Pac-12 teams would receive NCAA Tournament berths, if the season ended today. That is the most of any conference in the country with the ACC claiming eight and the SEC seven.

The Pac-12 currently has the No. 1 RPI in the country with 11 of 12 teams in the top 100, including seven in the top 27.

The Dec. 12 bracketology had an amazing 10 teams listed as deserving of a NCAA Tournament bid.

In her 31st season on the bench at Stanford, Hall of Famer Tara VanDerveer has accumulated a 992-227 record in her 37+ years as a collegiate head coach and an 836-175 mark on The Farm, nearing the 1,000-win mark. Only the late Pat Summitt of Tennessee has won 1,000 women’s basketball games and three coaches in men’s and women’s basketball in total have reached the milestone. VanDerveer’s teams have won 20 or more games 31 times, including each of the last 15 seasons. In 2013, she became just the fifth college women’s basketball coach to win 900 career games.

California, Colorado and Utah were the final remaining undefeated teams in the Pac-12, each posting impressive starts to the season. The Golden Bears started the campaign going 13-0 before losing their first game of the season, the program’s best-ever start to a season. Colorado snapped a 10-0 streak to start the season, marking the best start since 1980. The Ute’s 11-straight wins to start the year was also their best since the 2000-01 season.

Also of note, the Buffs have already surpassed its win total from all of last season when it won only seven games. Cal is just two wins from tying all of last year’s wins.

Washington Huskies Kelsey Plum and Chantel Osahor have been leading the nation in scoring and rebounding for most of the season. Plum is averaging a nation’s best 30.0 points per game, while Osahor is grabbing 13.5 rebounds per game.

As a team, UW’s 184 makes from long range, and 11.5 makes per game, are the most of any team in the country from that distance.

One of the most prolific scorer’s in Pac-12 history, Washington’s Kelsey Plum broke the Pac-12’s all-time scoring record in just the 11th game of her senior campaign, surpassing 2014 WNBA Rookie of the Year Chiney Ogwumike of Stanford. The fastest in league history to 2,000-career points, she is only the third player in Conference history to score at least 2,500 points, having scored over 700 points in each of her three seasons. Her name in the top five all-time is among elite company, with two WNBA Rookies of the Year, two No. 1 WNBA picks, four WNBA first-round picks, two WNBA Most Valuable Players and a pair of WNBA Champions occupying the four other spots.
    1. Kelsey Plum, WASH (2014-present) 2898

    2. Chiney Ogwumike, STAN (2011-14) 2737
    3. Candice Wiggins, STAN (2005-08) 2629
    4. Nnemkadi Ogwumike, STAN (2009-12) 2491
    5. Lisa Leslie, USC (1991-94) 2414

Plum’s total scoring is impressive, but it does not end there. Entering the season, Plum was averaging 23.3 points per game for her career, which would have been good enough for the Pac-12 record. She already owns the record for career free throws made and is shattering the mark previously held by former Oregon State standout Tanja Kostic (1993-96, 608). Plum is the only player in league history to make over 700 free throws in a career.

California’s Kristine Anigwe, last year’s USBWA National Freshman of the Year, netted 50 points to tie the Pac-12’s all-time single-game scoring record on Dec. 8 against Sacramento State, making her only the second player in Conference history to score 50 points. Anigwe was 19-for-23 from the floor in that game, also going 12-for-19 from the free throw line. 

The original record was set nearly 28 years ago on March 10, 1989 by USC’s Cherie Nelson against the Golden Bears. Since then, the record was only threatened twice (USC’s Tina Thompson, 49 points, Jan. 27, 1996; Cal’s Alexis Gray-Lawson, 47 points, Jan. 23, 2010), until Anigwe tied the mark.

The 50-point outing is also the highest-scoring individual game in the NCAA this season.

Plum is not the only one breaking records. Oregon State’s Sydney Wiese topped four-time Stanford All-American Candice Wiggins in the three-point category. Wiese will become the first player in Conference history to make 300-career threes.

    1. Sydney Wiese, OSU (2013-present) 298
    2. Candice Wiggins, STAN (2005-08) 295
    3. Ashley Corral, USC (2009-12) 291

So far this season, there have been five instances of triple-double performances by four players this season. It ties for the most occurrences in a season in the Pac-12, which came in 2014. That season, former Cal standout Brittany Boyd had three triple-doubles, Colorado’s Lexy Kressl achieved the feat once, as did  Oregon State’s Ruth Hamblin, who is the only player in Conference history to record a triple-double with points, rebounds and blocks.

This season, Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu has posted a pair of triple-doubles, which ties for the most this season. Washington’s Chantel Osahor, UCLA’s Jordin Canada and OSU’s Sydney Wiese each recorded one.


Friday, January 6    
#16/12 Oregon State at #20/20 California P12N 6 p.m.
Oregon at #10/10 Stanford P12N 8 p.m.
USC at #12/11 Washington P12N 8 p.m.
#9/7 UCLA at Washington State P12N 6 p.m.
Arizona at Colorado Live Stream 7 p.m.
#19/19 Arizona State at Utah P12N 6 p.m.
Sunday, January 8    
Oregon at #20/20 California P12N 1 p.m.
#16/12 Oregon State at #10/10 Stanford P12N 5 p.m.
#9/7 UCLA at #12/11 Washington ESPN2 2 p.m.
USC at Washington State P12N 12 p.m.
#19/19 Arizona State at Colorado P12N 3 p.m.
Arizona at Utah P12N 11 a.m.
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