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Michelle Smith WBB Notebook: The Pac-12's biggest non-conference wins of the last decade

Feb 6, 2020

There is no question that Oregon’s win at Connecticut on Monday night, in front of a national television audience, was one of the biggest non-conference wins in the Pac-12 in the past decade.

For the Ducks to go to the hallowed floor at Gampel Pavilion and hand the Huskies their worst-ever loss in Storrs was impressive and decisive and further cemented the reality that some of the best collegiate women’s basketball in the county is being played in the Pac-12.

“It was awesome and great for the Pac-12,” said Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne, whose Sun Devils are traveling to Oregon to face the Ducks and the Beavers this weekend. “The Conference is definitely getting good recognition right now, which is what we want and what we deserve.”

With four weeks to go in the Pac-12 season and tough road trips to Los Angeles and Stanford still on the schedule, it also increased the chances that Oregon could earn a No. 1 seed in a little more than a month. In the NCAA’s first Top 16 reveal, the Ducks are slotted as the No. 1 seed in the Portland region, which is exactly where they want to be as they prepare to make a run at a second straight Final Four.

While the Ducks are the team of the moment in college basketball, there have been other big Pac-12 non-conference wins in the last 10 seasons that are worth remembering. So, let’s take a walk down memory lane:

December 30, 2010
No. 9 Stanford over No. 1 Connecticut, 71-59, at Maples Pavilion
In a sold-out Maples Pavilion and in front of a national television audience, the Cardinal ended the Huskies’ Division I-record 90-game winning streak. Jeanette Pohlen, the Stanford senior point guard, finished the game with 31 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Maya Moore, the two-time national player of the year, did not score until the game was nearly 17 minutes old.

November 16, 2012
No. 4 Stanford over No. 1 Baylor, 71-69, in Honolulu
Stanford snapped another winning streak by breaking a 42-game streak by defending national champion Baylor when reigning national player of the year Brittney Griner missed a short turnaround at the buzzer. The Bears rallied from a 14-point deficit in the first half to create the opportunity for a dramatic finish. Chiney Ogwumike led Stanford, who had lost to Baylor in the national semifinals the previous season, with 18 points.

November 17, 2014
No. 6 Stanford over No. 1 Connecticut, 88-86, at Maples Pavilion
The streak-breaking trifecta was completed when the Cardinal ended Connecticut 47-game winning streak with an overtime victory. Guard Amber Orrange made a go-ahead jumper with 1:38 left in overtime and a game-tying 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds left in regulation.

November 30, 2014
Washington State over No. 10 Maryland, 70-64, at San Juan Shootout
Led by junior Lia Galdeira, the Cougars pulled off a win over their highest-ranked opponent in program history against the previously undefeated Terrapins. The Cougars used a stifling defense that held Maryland to its lowest point total of the season (64), while the Terrapins turned the ball over a season-high 24 times.

December 16, 2014
No. 14 Oregon State over No. 6 North Carolina, 70-55, in Chapel Hill
The Beavers never trailed in a defining win over the Tar Heels on UNC’s home floor. North Carolina was the highest-ranked team Oregon State had ever beaten on the road and it pushed their record to 8-0, the best start in school history at that time. Junior center Ruth Hamblin led the Beavers with 17 points, 10 rebound and five blocks.

December 29, 2014
Washington over No. 5 Texas A&M, 70-49, at Alaska Airlines Arena
The Huskies pulled off their biggest non-conference win in more than 20 years, their last win over a ranked non-conference opponent coming in 1997. Kelsey Plum led the way for Washington with 32 points, 20 of those in the first half. Talia Walton added 21 points.

November 15, 2015
California over No. 8 Louisville, 75-71, at the KFC Yum! Center
The Bears pulled off their first win over a top-10 opponent since 2013 with a huge win over Louisville in Kristine Anigwe’s freshman season. Four Bears scored in double figures, led by junior Courtney Range’s double-double on 19 points and 13 rebounds. Anigwe scored 19 points in that game, making a great first impression in a big win.

December 21, 2015
No. 22 Arizona State over No. 10 Florida State, 68-56, in Wells Fargo Arena
Arnecia Hawkins scored a career-high 23 points as the Sun Devils earned a big win over the Seminoles, avenging a one-point loss to Florida State in the NCAA regional semifinal the previous season.

November 18, 2017
No. 8 UCLA over No. 3 Baylor, 82-68, at Pauley Pavilion
Bruins senior forward Monique Billings scored 21 points and star point guard Jordin Canada added a 20-point, 13-rebound double-double as UCLA pulled off its first win over Baylor since 1996. The win extended UCLA’s home winning streak to 32 games.

Michelle Smith is a contributing writer for She has covered pro and college sports for espnW, San Francisco Chronicle, The Athletic and AOL Fanhouse. She was has won several awards, including the WBCA's Mel Greenberg Media Award, presented annually to a member of the media who has best displayed commitment to advancing the role of the media in women's basketball. For previous Michelle Smith features on, visit the archives page.