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Michelle Smith: Where Pac-12 women's basketball teams stand heading into final month of regular season

Feb 3, 2022
Washington State Athletics

With four weeks until the Pac-12 Tournament, the conference picture isn’t quite as clear as it could be with a number of postponed games and teams looking for makeup opportunities to improve their postseason prospects.

Here’s a look at where each Pac-12 team stands in the final month of what has been another unique regular season.

No. 8 Arizona

  • Record: 15-3 overall, 5-3 Pac-12
  • Games to make up: Washington, Cal 
  • What are the stakes? NCAA seeding. The Wildcats are a more well-rounded team than they were a year ago. Their tight loss at Stanford on Sunday shows that they are so close to playing with the team at the top of the conference and just need to button up a few things on both sides of the ball to get there.
  • Keep an eye on: Cate Reese, the senior do-everything player for the Wildcats, is averaging 14.9 points a game.
  • What’s left on the schedule? Oregon, Oregon State, at Arizona State, Arizona State, at Washington, at Washington State, UCLA, USC

Arizona State

  • Record: 9-8 overall, 1-3 Pac-12
  • Games to make up: UCLA, USC, Washington, Washington State, Oregon State, Cal
  • What are the stakes? The Sun Devils, who are 6-4 in their last 10 games, feel like they can be an NCAA Tournament team with an NCAA NET ranking of 48. There’s ground to make up in terms of conference games, which started with one on Tuesday at Oregon.
  • Keep an eye on: Mael Gilles, the graduate transfer from Rutgers, has scored in double figures in five of the last eight games and is averaging 10.2 points and 7.8 rebounds a game.
  • What’s left on the schedule? Oregon State, Oregon, Arizona, at Arizona, at Washington State, at Washington, USC, UCLA

California

  • Record: 9-5 overall, 0-3 Pac-12
  • Games to make up: Washington, Oregon State, Utah, Colorado, Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State
  • What are the stakes? The Bears, for the second year in a row, are in a position where they are just trying to rescue a season. With only three conference games under their belt and having played just one game since January 10, there’s been precious little opportunity to build confidence or momentum, or to put freshman scoring sensation Jayda Curry in a position to earn a share of the national spotlight. And making up all that’s been lost is not in the cards. Friday night’s game at USC against former coach Lindsay Gottlieb would be a good place to start with a re-start.
  • Keep an eye on: Cailyn Crocker, the junior guard, is averaging 9.5 points a game and is leading the team with 19 steals.
  • What’s left on the schedule? at USC, at UCLA, Colorado, Utah, at Oregon, at Oregon State, Washington, Washington State

Colorado

  • Record: 14-5 overall, 3-5 Pac-12
  • Games to make up: Oregon, Cal 
  • What are the stakes? The Buffaloes still want to position themselves as an NCAA Tournament team, but have found the Pac-12 schedule to be every bit as difficult as they knew it would be. They will be looking to make up ground in the second half and also looking for a signature win or two against some of the league’s top teams. They will have ample opportunity to do it.
  • Keep an eye on: Quay Miller, the Washington transfer, ranks second on the team in both scoring and rebounds at 11.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in 19.7 minutes a game.
  • What’s left on the schedule? Washington State, Washington, at Cal, at Stanford, at UCLA, at USC, Oregon, Oregon State

No. 19 Oregon

  • Record: 14-5 overall, 7-1 Pac-12
  • Games to make up: Colorado, Washington State
  • What are the stakes? Eight straight wins (including the forfeit win over UCLA) and a firm grip on second place puts the Ducks in a strong position heading into the final month of the season. But it’s going to be a challenging final few weeks for Oregon, with a difficult closing schedule.
  • Keep an eye on: Endyia Rogers. The USC transfer has settled in nicely to the Ducks lineup, averaging 13.7 points a game.
  • What’s left on the schedule? at Arizona, at Arizona State, at Oregon State, Oregon State, Cal, Stanford, at Colorado, at Utah

Oregon State

  • Record: 11-5 overall, 4-2 Pac-12
  • Games to make up: Utah, Cal, Stanford, Arizona State
  • What are the stakes? The Beavers are making their move, once again proving that they will be among the league’s best teams as the conference schedule starts to come to a close. Oregon State ranks second in the Pac-12 in rebounding margin behind Stanford, and that work on the boards is contributing mightily to their success. But the Beavers have one of the toughest finishing stretches in the league with Arizona, two games against Oregon and Stanford still on the schedule in the run-up to the Pac-12 Tournament.
  • Keep an eye on: Talia von Oelhoffen, the freshman guard, is averaging a team-leading 14.7 points a game.
  • What’s left on the schedule? at Arizona State, at Arizona, Oregon, at Oregon, Stanford, Cal, at Utah, at Colorado

No. 2 Stanford

  • Record: 16-3 overall, 7-0 Pac-12
  • Games to make up: Washington, Oregon State, Cal
  • What are the stakes? The pace-setter in the Pac-12 is the No. 2 team in the country and in position for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. But in order to keep that seed, the Cardinal is going to have to move through four road games in the next six, including a difficult set at Oregon State and Oregon over the President’s Day weekend. 
  • Keep an eye on: Sophomore center Cameron Brink, with her third Pac-12 Player of the Award award this season, is starting to solidify front-runner status for Pac-12 Player of the Year after her 25-point, 15-rebound effort against Arizona on Sunday.
  • What’s left on the schedule? at UCLA, at USC, Utah, Colorado, at Oregon State, at Oregon, Washington State, Washington 

UCLA

  • Record: 9-6 overall, 4-4 Pac-12
  • Games to make up: Arizona State, Utah
  • What are the stakes? The next week is going to be critical for UCLA’s NCAA Tournament résumé, as the Bruins host the Bay Area schools and look for a strong finish. The big unknown for a team that has been short-handed all season is the status of guard Charisma Osborne, whose knee injury last week against Arizona leaves the Bruins’ unsure about her timeline for return.
  • Keep an eye on: Natalie Chou leads UCLA in minutes per game, at 34.1 and is averaging 11.2 points with a team-leading 28 steals.
  • What’s left on the schedule? Stanford, Cal, at Washington State, at Washington, Colorado, Utah, at Arizona, at Arizona State

USC

  • Record: 9-9 overall, 2-6 Pac-12
  • Games to make up: Arizona State, Utah 
  • What are the stakes? The Trojans have lost four straight games and will definitely be looking to right the way in the stretch of the conference schedule. Getting Alissa Pili in the lineup for this group of games will be important to USC’s late-season fortunes.
  • Keep an eye on: Freshman Rayah Marshall is averaging 7.8 rebounds a game and is among the national leaders in blocked shots with 41 blocks on the season.
  • What’s left on the schedule? Cal, Stanford, at Washington, at Washington State, Utah, Colorado, at Arizona State, at Arizona

Utah

  • Record: 11-7 overall, 2-4 Pac-12
  • Games to make up: Oregon State, UCLA, USC, Cal
  • What are the stakes? Utah wants to continue to ride the conference’s most potent offense — including a league-high 180 3-pointers on the season — to a postseason berth, and in order to do that, the Utes need to find a way to win some of the close ones. Three of Utah’s four conference losses have come by 10 points or less, including a four-point loss at Oregon and an overtime loss to Colorado.
  • Keep an eye on: Freshman Gianna Kneepkens, who is averaging 13.7 points a game in conference play, has been named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week four times this season.
  • What’s left on the schedule? Washington, Washington State, at Stanford, at Cal, at USC, at UCLA, Oregon State, Oregon

Washington

  • Record: 5-9 overall, 0-6 Pac-12
  • Games to make up: Stanford, Cal, Arizona State, Arizona
  • What are the stakes? The Huskies are still trying to find their footing under Tina Langley, still looking for their first Pac-12 win after a 5-3 start to the season. Washington’s offense needs a jump start, with the Huskies averaging a league-low 55.6 points a game. A bit more scoring might push this team into the win column. Four of their conference losses thus far have come by single digits.
  • Keep an eye on: Senior Haley Van Dyke, who ranks third in the Pac-12 at 8.1 rebounds a game and is averaging 11.4 points.
  • What’s left on the schedule? at Utah, at Colorado, USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, at Cal, at Stanford

Washington State

  • Record: 13-6 overall, 5-3 Pac-12
  • Games to make up: Arizona State, Oregon
  • What are the stakes? Coming off a sweep of rival Washington for the second straight year, the Cougars are tied for fourth place in the Pac-12 standings with a three-game winning streak under their belt. After a 2-3 start to conference play, WSU is finding its spot near in the upper half of the conference standings, and reinvigorating their NCAA prospects.
  • Keep an eye on: Charlisse Leger-Walker, the super sophomore scorer who leads the league in minutes played (36.2) and is averaging 16.6 points a game.
  • What’s left on the schedule? at Colorado, at Utah, UCLA, USC, Arizona State, Arizona, at Stanford, at Cal