Four top-25 women’s basketball clashes highlights Pac-12 slate
For just the third time in league history, six Pac-12 women’s basketball teams are ranked in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches poll after USC makes its first appearance this week since Nov. 15, 2011. The Trojans are one of just 17 undefeated teams still remaining in the country, which also includes CALIFORNIA and UTAH ... OREGON and STANFORD lead the way for the Conference, both in the top 10 of the coaches and Associated Press polls, coming in at No. 7/7 and No. 8/9, respectively. OREGON STATE is No. 11/11, Cal is No. 14/13 and ARIZONA STATE is No. 17/20 ... Three of the four AP top-25 matchups in the country this week feature Pac-12 teams, including a pair of top-10 showdowns on Tuesday. The Cardinal travel to No. 9/8 Tennessee (SEC Network) while the Ducks host No. 4/4 Mississippi State (ESPN2). The Bears host No. 1 Connecticut on Saturday, Dec. 22 on Pac-12 Network ... The Trojans, who are ranked in the WBCA poll, travel to face MSU on Wednesday ... Most Pac-12 teams will use this week’s games as the final tune-up before league play begins on Sunday, Dec. 30 ... Stanford’s Alanna Smith was tabbed the Pac-12 Player of the Week, as well as the National Player of the Week by ESPNW and USBWA. The senior forward led the Cardinal to an upset of then-No. 3 Baylor, moving it back into the top 10 this week ... The Utes’ Dre’Una Edwards recorded her fourth double-double of the season to earn the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week nod for the third time ... ARIZONA is riding an eight-game win streak, the program’s longest in 15 years. The Wildcats have already surpassed their win total from all of last season just 10 games into 2018-19 ... Cal’s Kristine Anigwe is just six rebounds away from becoming just the 11th player in Pac-12/10 history to record 2,000 points and 1,00 rebounds, and is also set to become the 23rd with 1,000 boards.
ANIGWE APPROACHES MILESTONES
California’s Kristine Anigwe eclipsed the 2,000 career-point mark to become only the 20th player in Pac-12/10 history to reach the milestone. She now has her sights set on 1,000-rebounds, needing just six more to reach the threshold. Only 22 players have grabbed 1,000 boards in league history. The All-America candidate is also looking to become just the 11th player in league history to collect 2,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds.
SIX PAC-12 TEAMS RANKED IN THE COACHES POLL
For just the third time in league history and second time in two years, six Pac-12 teams are ranked in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches poll. The last time six teams were in the national coaches poll was the preseason ranking released prior to the 2017-18 and 2006-07 campaigns.
PAC-12 SCORING IS UP
As a collective group as of Dec. 18, the Pac-12 boasts the best scoring average among all conferences at 75.00 points per game. It is also posting the best collective field goal percentage (45.34) and 3-point field goal percentage (34.76) of all leagues. Compared to 2017-18, the Conference’s numbers are up in each of those categories though, admittedly, though it is early in the season. Its scoring average is up the most dramatically, recording 6.0 ppg better than a year ago when it average 69.00 ppg for seventh-best among the leagues. In 2017-18, Pac-12 teams were shooting 42.95 pct. (3rd) and 33.77 pct. from long range (4th). The Conference’s 71.28 shooting from the charity stripe ranks fourth this week among all conferences, but is a slight improvement from last season’s 71.16 free throw shooting (9th).
NCAA STATISTICAL LEADERS
Cal’s Kristine Anigwe is getting off to a strong start in her senior campaign. She has posted a double-double in each of her team’s games so far, tying for the national lead in the category (9, as of Dec. 18). Her 24.6 points per game and 13.7 rebounds per game rank fourth and second, respectively.
Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu leads the nation with a pair of triple-doubles, already owning the NCAA’s career mark. Her 8.2 assists average (3rd) leads five league distributors among the top 25. Colorado’s Kennedy Leonard ranks six (7.3) and Utah’s Dru Gylten is seventh (6.8). Gylten has the best average among all freshmen in the country. Six from the Pac-12 are also among the top 25 in assist-to-turnoveer ratio with ARIZONA STATE’s Reili Richardon ranking third (4.23).
USC freshman Shalexxus Aaron continues to lead the nation with a blistering 64.5 three-point shooting percentage with Ionescu not far behind, ranking third with a 55.8 three-point shooting. Arizona’s Aari McDonald has been in the top three in scoring all season, and ranked third with a 24.6 ppg average.
Three Pac-12 teams are among the 17 in the country that are still undefeated, including Cal, Utah and USC. With Ionescu leading the way, Oregon has the best scoring average (92.4 ppg), free throw percentage (84.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.93) in the country. All stats are as of Dec. 18.
CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded Standings)
|Teams||Pac-12 Record||Overall Record|
|Tuesday, Dec. 18|
|#8/9 STANFORD at #9/8 Tennessee||SEC||3 p.m. PT|
|#4/4 Mississippi State at #7/7 Oregon||ESPN2||7 p.m. PT|
|Wednesday, Dec. 19|
|Kansas at WASHINGTON STATE (1)||2:30 p.m. PT|
|RV/25 USC at #23/24 Texas A&M||SEC Net+||3 p.m. PT|
|UCLA at UCI||ESPN+||4 p.m. PT|
|Thursday, Dec. 20|
|Air Force at #7/7 OREGON||11a.m. PT|
|Florida at UTAH (1)||12 p.m. PT|
|Fresno State at #17/20 ARIZONA STATE||1 p.m. PT|
|WASHINGTON STATE vs Northwestern/ Wichita St. (1)|
|Samford at COLORADO||6 p.m.PT|
|Duke at #11/11 OREGON STATE||P12N||7 p.m. PT|
|#4/4 Mississippi State at WASHINGTON||7 p.m.PT|
|Friday, Dec. 21|
|#8/9 STANFORD at Buffalo||9 a.m. PT|
|UC Irvine at #7/7 OREGON||12 p.m. PT|
|UTAH at Hawaii/UNLV (1)||TBD|
|NAU at ARIZONA||5:30 p.m. PT|
|Saturday, Dec. 22|
|#1/1 UConn at #14/13 CALIFORNIA||P12N||12 p.m. PT|
|RV/25 USC at UT Arlington||ESPN+||12 p.m. PT|
2018-19 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
ROAD TO TAMPA
Teams across the country will be focused on getting to Tampa this season, the site of the 2019 NCAA Women’s Final Four on April 5 and 7. To get to Tampe, Fla., teams will have to go through regional sites in Albany, N.Y., Chicago, Greensboro, N.C., and Portland, Ore., where the Oregon State Beavers are hosts Regional play takes place from March 29-April 1, with specific dates to be announced. The first and second round of the tournament will take place