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Pac-12 Women's Basketball Weekly Release - Dec. 30, 2021

Dec 30, 2021
Michelle Minahen/Cal Athletics

COMPLETE RELEASE (PDF)

PAC-12 RUNDOWN

  • The Pac-12's opening weekend of Conference play will feature just two games, with Washington State hosting California on Friday (7 p.m. PT) and No. 2 Stanford on Sunday (noon PT), as COVID-19 protocols forced the postponement of the other 10 scheduled league matchups. In addition to those 10 postponements, Pac-12 programs have also had nine nonconference contests   canceled since the beginning of December, including dates between No. 4 Arizona and No. 12 Texas at the Pac-12 US LBM Coast-to-Coast Challenge in Las Vegas, No. 25 Ohio State at UCLA and Oregon at Northwestern.
  • On Dec. 22, the Pac-12 announced adjusted policies for women’s basketball administration for the remainder of the 2021-22 season. Key among the updates is the minimum available roster count of seven scholarship players and one countable coach, minimum two days of full practice before resuming competition, and minimum games count for regular-season championship qualification. On Dec. 30 and informed by the latest guidance from the CDC, the Conference announced a COVID-19 testing, isolation and quarantine update, which was established by the Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee with an effective date of Dec. 31. For complete details, visit pac12.com/health.
  • No. 4 Arizona and Colorado are two of three unbeaten teams remaining in the country, along with No. 24 North Carolina (12-0). The Wildcats are 10-0 for the second time in program history (2019-20), while the Buffs are 11-0 for the fourth time in 11 seasons and sixth time overall. 
  • Not counting the COVID-impacted campaign of 2020-21, it is the fourth time in six seasons the Pac-12 has entered Conference play with multiple undefeated programs. The Conference had four unbeaten programs during the 2019-20 nonconference slate (Arizona, Colorado, Oregon State, UCLA) and two each in 2016-17 (California, Utah) and 2015-16 (Oregon, USC). Utah was 11-0 heading into league action in 2018-19 and Colorado was 11-0 before beginning Pac-12 play in its first two seasons in the Conference (2011-12; 2012-13).
  • Four Pac-12 programs - No. 5 Stanford, No. 8 Arizona, No. 18 Oregon, No. 23 Utah - are in the top 25 of the NET rankings for games played through Dec. 29 and 11 of the Conference’s 12 teams are in the top 100.
  • For the third consecutive week, No. 2 Stanford and No. 4 Arizona are in the top four of the Associated Press Top 25. When the two national finalists from a season ago initially appeared in the top four together on Dec. 13, it was the first time in 26 polls the Conference had two top-four teams (Feb. 24, 2020 - No. 3 Oregon, No. 4 Stanford). Arizona’s No. 4 ranking is its best in program history. 
  • Among teams in action this weekend, Washington State (8-3) is off to its best start since 2015-16 (9-2), California (9-2) has nine wins in its first 11 games for the first time since 2018-19 and Stanford is 3-1 against AP top-10 foes. Only South Carolina has more top-10 wins than the Cardinal with five.
  • The Pac-12 went a combined 17-9 (.654) in true road games during nonconference, the nation’s second-best nonconference road winning percentage behind the ACC (.737; 28-10).
  • Pac-12 teams are 92-32 (.742) thus far and with just one nonconference game remaining on the schedule when Oregon hosts UConn on Jan. 17 on ESPN2, the Pac-12 has won at least 70 percent of its non-league games for the seventh consecutive season. 
  • Six of the nation’s top 25 teams in blocks per game are from the Pac-12 in USC (third; 7.3), Oregon State (fourth; 7.0), Stanford (sixth; 6.6), Arizona (10th; 6.2), Washington (20th; 5.5) and Washington State (25th; 5.3). Collectively, the Conference tops the nation in the category, with its 12 schools averaging 5.20 blocks per game, which is more than a half-block better than the second-place SEC (4.62). No league has averaged more than five blocks per game in a season since the Big 12 in 2016-17 (5.05).

KEY NONCONFERENCE WINS

POWER 6 OPPONENTS (17-17)
Nov. 10 - COLORADO 55, at Oklahoma State 45
Nov. 12 - #22 ARIZONA 61, #6 Louisville 59 [OT] (Sioux Falls, S.D.)
Nov. 13 - at UTAH 106, Xavier 71
Nov. 14 - USC 65, at Virginia 48
Nov. 19 - at COLORADO 69, Marquette 53
Nov. 20 - #9 OREGON 98, Oklahoma 93 (Paradise Island, Bahamas)
Nov. 21 - at #20 UCLA 69, Virginia 57
Nov. 25 - #9 ARIZONA 48, Vanderbilt 46 (St. Thomas, USVI)
Nov. 25 - USC 79, Seton Hall 65 (Cancun, Mexico) 
Nov. 25 - #7 STANFORD 69, #4 Indiana 66 (Nassau Bahamas)
Nov. 25 - WASHINGTON STATE 62, Miami 47 (Nassau, Bahamas)
Nov. 26 - #9 ARIZONA 75, DePaul 68 (St. Thomas, USVI)
Nov. 27 - #9 ARIZONA 80, Rutgers 44 (St. Thomas, USVI)
Nov. 27 - #7 STANFORD 86, #2 Maryland 68 (Nassau, Bahamas)
Nov. 28 - at COLORADO 67, Wisconsin 51
Nov. 28 - #19 UCLA 73, St. John’s 65 (Estero, Fla.)
Dec. 18 - #3 STANFORD 74, at #7 Tennessee 63

AP TOP 25 OPPONENTS (4-12)
Nov. 12 - #22 ARIZONA 61, #6 Louisville 59 [OT] (Sioux Falls, S.D.)
Nov. 25 - #7 STANFORD 69, #4 Indiana 66 (Nassau Bahamas)
Nov. 27 - #7 STANFORD 86, #2 Maryland 68 (Nassau, Bahamas)
Dec. 18 - #3 STANFORD 74, at #7 Tennessee 63

ROAD OPPONENTS (17-9)
Nov. 10 - COLORADO 55, at Oklahoma State 45
Nov. 13 - CALIFORNIA 70, at San Francisco 41
Nov. 14 - USC 65, at Virginia 48
Nov. 14 - COLORADO 58, at Air Force 53
Nov. 20 - CALIFORNIA 64, UC San Diego 54
Nov. 21 - WASHINGTON STATE 73, at Idaho 59
Nov. 21 - #7 STANFORD 66, at Gonzaga 62
Nov. 27 - UTAH 73, at Hawaii 57
Dec. 4 - WASHINGTON STATE 71, at UC Davis 49
Dec. 4 - #18 OREGON 62, at Portland 59
Dec. 7 - #25 COLORADO 71, at Southern Utah 47
Dec. 8 - WASHINGTON STATE 51, at Gonzaga 49
Dec. 10 - #23 OREGON STATE 72, at Monmouth 58
Dec. 10 - WASHINGTON 77, at Seattle U 59
Dec. 17 - #4 ARIZONA 82, at Northern Arizona 55
Dec. 18 - ARIZONA STATE 79, at San Diego 60
Dec. 18 - #3 STANFORD 74, at #7 Tennessee 63

NET TOP 100 OPPONENTS (19-29)
Nov. 10 - COLORADO 55, at Oklahoma State 45
Nov. 12 - #22 ARIZONA 61, #6 Louisville 59 [OT] (Sioux Falls, S.D.)
Nov. 12 - at WASHINGTON 57, San Diego 51
Nov. 16 - at #7 STANFORD 77, Portland 55
Nov. 19 - at COLORADO 69, Marquette 53
Nov. 20 - #9 OREGON 98, Oklahoma 93 (Paradise Island, Bahamas)
Nov. 21 - #7 STANFORD 66, at Gonzaga 62
Nov. 25 - #9 ARIZONA 48, Vanderbilt 46 (St. Thomas, USVI)
Nov. 25 - #7 STANFORD 69, #4 Indiana 66 (Nassau Bahamas)
Nov. 25 - WASHINGTON STATE 62, Miami 47 (Nassau, Bahamas)
Nov. 26 - #9 ARIZONA 75, DePaul 68 (St. Thomas, USVI)
Nov. 27 - ARIZONA STATE 58, Fordham 43 (Cancun, Mexico)
Nov. 27 - #7 STANFORD 86, #2 Maryland 68 (Nassau, Bahamas)
Dec. 4 - #18 OREGON 62, at Portland 59
Dec. 8 - WASHINGTON STATE 51, at Gonzaga 49
Dec. 11 - at OREGON 68, Long Beach State 59
Dec. 18 - ARIZONA STATE 79, at San Diego 60
Dec. 18 - #3 STANFORD 74, at #7 Tennessee 63
Dec. 19 - OREGON STATE 70, Northern Iowa 59 (Lahaina, Hawaii)

CONFERENCE NOTEBOOK

STUNNING SUCCESS OF LATE

  • In a first for the Conference, the Pac-12 is coming off a season in which its top two regular-season finishers – Stanford and Arizona – met for the national championship. The 2021 title game was just the seventh time in women’s basketball history that two teams from the same league met for a championship and was the first to feature two schools from west of the Mississippi River since 1986 (Texas vs. USC).
  • Since the 2015-16 season, the Pac-12 leads all conferences in Final Four appearances (6), NCAA Tournament wins (70) and NCAA Tournament winning percentage (.707). 
  • In addition to the aforementioned success over the past seven seasons, the Pac-12 also leads all conferences in Final Four appearances since 2012-13 with eight. Those eight appearances have been spread across six different programs - Arizona (2021), California (2013, Oregon (2019), Oregon State (2016), Stanford (2021, 2017, 2014), Washington (2016) - which is two more than any other conference. Simply put, in an amazing display of depth, half of the Pac-12 has appeared in a Final Four in the past eight NCAA Tournaments. The ACC has had four different programs make the Final Four over the same span, the Big East three, the SEC two, and the Big Ten, Big 12 and American each one.
  • Against nonconference opponents in the regular season since 2015-16, the Pac-12 leads all leagues with an .793 winning percentage (666-174), ahead of the Big 12 (.787), SEC (.772), ACC (.766) and Big Ten (.725). 
  • Not including the pandemic-impacted season of 2020-21, which featured inconsistent nonconference scheduling, the Pac-12 owns two of the three best regular-season, nonconference winning percentages in women’s college basketball since 1999-00.
    • 1. Big 12 - 2011-12 - .861 (99-16)
    • 2. Pac-12 - 2016-17 - .848 (117-21)
    • 3. Pac-12 - 2019-20 - .839 (115-22)
  • In the first year using the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) for women’s basketball, four of the top 10 teams in the final NET rankings for 2021 were from the Pac-12 in Stanford (No. 1), Arizona (No. 7), UCLA (No. 8) and Oregon (No. 10), a total double any other league. The Pac-12 was also the nation’s top-rated conference by RPI in three of the final five seasons (2016, 2017, 2020) that metric was used by the committee.

NO SIGNS OF SLOWING DOWN

  • Pac-12 programs signed 35 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period, 21 of whom are in the espnW HoopGurlz Top 100 (60.0 percent), including six in the top 10. Six of the nation’s top 14 classes have been put together by Conference programs, including each of the top three and five of the top eight - No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Oregon, No. 3 Oregon State, No. 5 Stanford, No. 8 Arizona and No. 14 Washington.
  • In available data dating back a dozen years, no conference has finished a recruiting cycle with as many programs (five) boasting top 10 classes according to espnW HoopGurlz. Since 2007, only one other conference has signed as many top-10 individuals (six) in the espnW HoopGurlz rankings (SEC - 2019).
  • Pac-12 programs also signed three top-10 classes in each of the previous three years, totals which led or tied for the national lead each cycle. The Conference’s 15 total espnW HoopGurlz top-10 recruiting classes from 2016-21 were the most in the country.
  • The regular signing period for the Class of 2022 runs from April 13 - May 18, 2022.

THE CONFERENCE OF TRIPLE-DOUBLES

  • Stanford’s Haley Jones put together the Pac-12’s 54th all-time triple-double with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in a 77-55 victory over Portland on Nov. 16 and first since UCLA’s Charisma Osborne had 18 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists against USC on Feb. 26, 2021.
  • Per ESPN Stats & Info, a Pac-12 player has now had a triple-double in 11 consecutive seasons, the longest streak by a conference in DI history. Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu is the NCAA record holder in career triple doubles with 26, which is 17 more than second-place Chastadie Barrs of Lamar (9).

OTHER PERFORMANCES OF NOTE

  • In a 69-66 victory over then-No. 4 Indiana on Nov. 25, Stanford’s Cameron Brink had 21 points, a career-high 22 rebounds, five assists and five blocks. It is just the third 20-point, 20-rebound, five-assist, five-block performance in women’s college basketball since 1999-2000 and the first against a ranked team (Jasmine Joyner, Chattanooga - Jan. 9, 2016 vs. Furman; Anna Strickland, Houston Baptist - March 10, 2016 vs. Lamar).
  • UCLA beat San Jose State, 112-33, on Dec. 5 behind 32 points from IImar’I Thomas and a career-high 31 from Natalie Chou, the third time since 1999-00 that two Pac-12 players from the same team scored 30+ in a game. Washington State’s Lia Galdeira and Tia Presley each had 31 in a 107-100 victory over Oregon on March 6, 2014 and Arizona beat the Ducks, 119-112, on Jan. 16, 2010 behind 36 points from Davellyn Whyte and 32 from Ify Ibekwe.
  • Utah freshman Gianna Kneepkens poured in 29 points off the bench against No. 21 BYU on Dec. 4. Tied for the ninth-best scoring output for a Pac-12 player off the bench since 1999-00, it’s the best since Minyon Moore had 32 as a sub for USC against Washington State on Feb. 17, 2017.
  • Arizona State’s Jade Loville put up 34 points in a 79-60 win at San Diego on Dec. 18, the highest total for a Pac-12 player in a nonconference road game since Aari McDonald had 44 for Arizona in an 83-58 win over then-No. 22 Texas on Nov. 17, 2019. Loville’s 34 points are the most for a Pac-12 player in a game this season.
  • Also on Dec. 18, Stanford’s Haley Jones put up 18 points, 19 rebounds and six assists in a 74-63 victory over then-No. 7 Tennessee in Knoxville, becoming the ninth player this century with 15 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in an AP top-10 matchup. Three of those nine performances are from the Cardinal, including Cameron Brink in the aforementioned game against then-No. 4 Indiana (21 points, 22 rebounds, five assists). Jones is only the second player of the nine to have that line in a true road game, joining Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike, who had 21 points, 19 rebounds and five assists in a 73-60 win for the then-No. 1 Cardinal at No. 10 Tennessee on Dec. 22, 2012.
  • Four-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week Jayda Curry of California is the nation’s leading freshman scorer, and 20th overall, averaging 20.1 points per game.

WATCH LIST WATCH

  • The Pac-12 boasts 41 total selections from 10 schools on watch lists for the Wade Trophy, Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy and Naismith Starting 5 positional awards. The Conference’s 41 overall watch list candidates are tied for the most in the country (SEC) and are the most on a per membership basis (3.42/member). The Pac-12 has more players on the Wooden Award (10) and Naismith Trophy (9) watch lists than any other league.
  • When combined with the watch lists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Starting 5 positional awards, which were unveiled the week of Oct. 25 and featured an additional 17 Pac-12 selections, the Conference’s 41 overall watch list candidates are tied for the most in the country (SEC) and are the most on a per membership basis (3.42/member).
  • Five Pac-12 players appear on the Wade Trophy, Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy watch lists in addition to the list for their particular positional award in Stanford’s Cameron Brink and Haley Jones, UCLA’s Charisma Osborne, Washington State’s Charlisse Leger-Walker and Oregon’s Nyara Sabally.
  • Three Pac-12 standouts were among the 30 candidates announced for the 2021-22 Senior CLASS Award on Dec. 7 in Dru Gylten (Utah), Lexie Hull (Stanford) and Sam Thomas (Arizona). To be eligible, a student-athlete must be classified as a senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. 

LEARNING FROM THE BEST

  • Eleven of the 12 current Pac-12 head coaches have guided programs to postseason play, with nine earning Division I NCAA Tournament berths, including seven advancing to the Elite Eight (Barnes, Turner Thorne, Graves, Rueck, VanDerveer, Close, Gottlieb). 
  • Five of the Conference’s head coaches have led a team to the Final Four in Arizona’s Adia Barnes, Oregon’s Kelly Graves, Oregon State’s Scott Rueck, Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer and USC’s Lindsay Gottlieb, who took California in 2013.
  • Of the country’s 15 active NCAA head coaches who have led a Division I team to the Final Four (including Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer, who is taking a leave of absence in 2021-22), five are from the Pac-12, which is tied with the SEC for the most among all leagues. 
  • However, the Pac-12’s five have all coached a team from their own Conference in a national semifinal, while only two of the SEC’s five have done so (Dawn Staley – South Carolina; Gary Blair – Texas A&M).

TOP TALENT THRIVES OUT WEST

  • Pac-12 schools have signed 31 espnW HoopGurlz top-25 recruits since 2016, the second-highest total among all leagues (ACC – 36). 
  • But since 2016, the Pac-12 leads all conferences with 13 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-Americans. Arizona’s Aari McDonald and Stanford’s Kiana Williams landed on the 10-member team in 2021, giving the Conference multiple WBCA All-Americans for the third consecutive season and fifth in the past six.
  • The Conference also boasts a NCAA-high 16 U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) first-, second- and third-team All-Americans since 2016, one more than the Big Ten (15) and two ahead of the SEC (14).

PAC-12 IN THE PROS

  • Two first-round picks highlighted five overall selections from the Pac-12 in the 2021 WNBA Draft. The Conference has had multiple first-round selections in each of the past five drafts and at least four overall picks in the past eight drafts, active streaks which lead all leagues by three years. The SEC has had multiple first rounders in two consecutive drafts and the Big 12 has had at least four total selections in the past two.
  • Aari McDonald (Arizona) was first off the board, going to the Atlanta Dream with the No. 3 overall pick and Michaela Onyenwere (UCLA) was selected by the New York Liberty at No. 6. Kiana Williams (Stanford) went to the Seattle Storm with the sixth pick in the second round (18th overall) and was followed by Trinity Baptiste (Arizona), who was taken with the final pick in the second round (24th overall) by the Indiana Fever. Aleah Goodman (Oregon State) rounded out the Pac-12 selections when she was chosen by the Connecticut Sun with the sixth pick in the third round (30th overall).
  • Onyenwere’s debut season with the Liberty garnered her WNBA Rookie of the Year honors. The first Bruin to earn the award, she joined Stanford's Nneka (2012) and Chiney Ogwumike (2014) as other Pac-12 alumnae to earn the honor. Onyenwere is the first UCLA basketball player, men’s or women’s, to be named Rookie of the Year since Jamaal Wilkes in 1975.
  • The WNBA’s landmark 25th season featured 23 Pac-12 alumnae on opening-day rosters and 14 former standouts from six Conference schools on each of the eight teams in the WNBA Playoffs - Oregon (4), UCLA (3), California (2), Stanford (2), Washington (2), Arizona State (1). Oregon’s Ruthy Hebard ultimately won a WNBA Championship with the Chicago Sky.

#OLYMPIANSMADEHERE

THE ALLIANCE

  • On Aug. 24, the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 announced an historic alliance that will bring 41 world-class institutions together on a collaborative approach surrounding the future evolution of college athletics and scheduling. The alliance – which was unanimously supported by the presidents, chancellors and athletics directors at all 41 institutions – will be guided in all cases by a commitment to, and prioritization of, supporting student-athlete well-being, academic and athletic opportunities, experiences and diverse educational programming. More details at pac12.me/Alliance.

CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded Standings

Teams Pac-12 Record Overall Record
Colorado 0-0 11-0
#4 Arizona 0-0 10-0
California 0-0 9-2
#2 Stanford 0-0 8-3
Utah 0-0 8-3
Washington State 0-0 8-3
Oregon State 0-0 7-3
USC 0-0 7-3
UCLA 0-0 5-3
Washington 0-0 5-3
Arizona State 0-0 8-5
Oregon 0-0 6-4

UPCOMING SCHEDULE (Full Schedule)

Friday, Dec. 31    
California at Washington State P12N 7 p.m. PT
Sunday, Jan. 2    
#2 Stanford at Washington State P12N noon PT

PAC-12 PERFORMANCE AWARDS PRESENTED BY NEXTIVA

  Player of the Week Freshman of the Week
Nov. 15 Cate Reese, ARIZ Jayda Curry, CAL
Nov. 22 Nyara Sabally, ORE Jayda Curry, CAL
Nov. 29 Cameron Brink, STAN Jayda Curry, CAL
Dec. 6 Natalie Chou, UCLA Gianna Kneepkens, UTAH
Dec. 13 Charlisse Leger-Walker, WSU Jenna Johnson, UTAH
Dec. 20 Haley Jones, STAN Jayda Curry, CAL
Dec. 27 Evelien Lutje Schipholt, CAL Gianna Kneepkens, UTAH
Jan. 3    
Jan. 10    
Jan. 17     
Jan. 24    
Jan. 31    
Feb. 7    
Feb. 14    
Feb. 21    
Feb. 28