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Pac-12 Women's Basketball Weekly Release - March 16, 2022

Mar 16, 2022
Mike Mattina/Arizona Athletics

COMPLETE RELEASE (PDF)

PAC-12 RUNDOWN

  • Six Pac-12 women’s basketball teams are headed to the 2022 NCAA Tournament in Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Stanford, Utah and Washington State. At least half of the conference has now earned berths in five consecutive NCAA Tournaments and this will be the eighth consecutive event to feature at least five Pac-12 programs.
  • Defending national champion Stanford (28-3), which swept the Pac-12 regular season and tournament titles in 2022, earned the No. 1 seed in the Spokane Region, the program’s 12th time as a No. 1 seed and the 18th for a current league member all-time (USC - 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986; Washington - 1990; Colorado - 1995).
  • Arizona (20-7) is hosting first and second-round games in the tournament for the second time in program history (1998) as the No. 4 seed in the Greensboro Region. The Wildcats advanced to last season’s national title game in their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2005.
  • The No. 5 seed in the Wichita Region, Oregon (20-11) is headed to its 17th NCAA Tournament all-time and fifth in a row. The Ducks have advanced past the first weekend in each of the first four years of its current run and made three Elite Eights.
  • Making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2013 and second as a Pac-12 member, Colorado (22-8) is the No. 7 seed in the Greensboro Region. The berth is the 14th all-time for CU, which has been to three Elite Eights (1993, 1995, 2002).
  • Also a No. 7 seed in the Spokane Region, Pac-12 Tournament finalist Utah (20-11) is making a return trip to the Big Dance for the first time since 2011 and looking for its victory in the event in 2009. 
  • Washington State (19-10), which made its return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 30 years in 2021, is back in 2022 as the No. 8 seed in the Bridgeport Region.
  • Rounding out the Pac-12’s postseason teams are Oregon State and UCLA, which will host first-round WNIT games against Long Beach State and UC Irvine. UCLA won the WNIT in 2015 and OSU did so in 1980 and 1982.

CONFERENCE NOTEBOOK

PAC-12 POSTSEASON SUCCESS

  • 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).

NCAA TOURNAMENT WINNING PERCENTAGE (SINCE 2016)

Rank Conference Percentage Record
1. Pac-12 .707 70-29
2. American .667 20-10
3. ACC .635 61-35
4. Big 12 .613 38-24
5. SEC .611 58-37
6. Big Ten .525 31-28

TOTAL FINAL FOUR APPEARANCES (SINCE 2016)

Rank Conference Total
1. Pac-12 6
T2. ACC/American/SEC 4
T5. Big 12/Big East 1
  • At least two Pac-12 teams have advanced to the Elite Eight in each of the past five tournaments. No other league has an active streak of multiple Elite Eight participants.

PAC-12 IN THE ELITE EIGHT (SINCE 2016)

Year Teams
2021 Arizona, Stanford
2019 Oregon, Stanford
2018 Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA
2017 Oregon, Stanford
2016 Oregon State, Stanford, Washington
  • In a first for the Conference, two Pac-12 programs – Stanford and Arizona – met for the national championship last season. 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).
  • Last season, the Pac-12 was represented by multiple women’s basketball programs in the Final Four for the second time in conference history. In 2016, Oregon State and Washington were among the last four standing in Indianapolis. A Pac-12 school has been in 11 of the past 13 Final Fours.
  • It was the 24th time one league placed multiple teams in the Final Four and the Pac-12 became the fourth conference to have multiple teams in more than one Final Four.

MULTIPLE PARTICIPANTS IN A FINAL FOUR ALL-TIME

Rank Conference Total
1. SEC 10 (last in 2017)
2. Big East 6 (last in 2013)
3. ACC 3 (last in 2018)
4. Pac-12 2 (last in 2021)
T5. Big 12 1 (2010)
T5. Big Ten 1 (1993)
T5. Sun Belt 1 (1985)
  • 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. 

DIFFERENT TEAMS TO APPEAR IN A FINAL FOUR (SINCE 2013)

Rank Conference Number Teams
1. Pac-12 6 Arizona, California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington
2. ACC 4 Louisville, Maryland, Notre Dame, Syracuse
3. Big East 3 UConn, Louisville, Notre Dame
4. SEC 2 Mississippi State, South Carolina
T5. American/Big 12/Big Ten 1 Connecticut/Baylor/Maryland

TOTAL FINAL FOUR APPEARANCES (SINCE 2013)

Rank Conference Total
1. Pac-12 8
2. ACC 7
3. American 6
4. SEC 5
5. Big East 4
T6. Big 12/Big Ten 1
  • Since 2016, Pac-12 teams are 49-9 (.845) in the tournament’s first two rounds.

NONCONFERENCE AND NET NUGGETS

  • Against nonconference opponents in the regular season since 2015-16, the Pac-12 leads all leagues with an .793 winning percentage (672-175), ahead of the Big 12 (.786), SEC (.771), 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.

BEST REGULAR-SEASON, NONCONFERENCE WINNING PERCENTAGES (SINGLE SEASON SINCE 1999-2000)

Rank Conference Season Percentage
1. Big 12 2011-12 .861 (99-16)
2. Pac-12 2016-17 .848 (117-21)
3. Pac-12 2019-20 .839 (115-22)
  • This season, every one of the conference’s 12 teams is currently in the NET top 100, including five in the top 30 and seven in the top 50. The Pac-12 is one of only two leagues that has all its teams in the top 100 (SEC).
  • Pac-12 schools boast seven of the 25 toughest schedules in the country, a total tied for the most among all conferences (Big 12), and has three of the top five in Stanford (No. 2), Oregon State (No. 3) and Oregon (No. 5).
  • 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 2020-21 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 espnW HoopGurlz top-10 recruiting classes from 2016-21 led the country.
  • Rosters for the 2022 McDonald’s All American Games were revealed on ESPN on Tuesday, Jan. 25, and of the 24 women selected to play in the showcase, nine have signed National Letters of Intent to join Pac-12 programs next season, the highest total among all conferences (Oregon/Oregon State/Stanford/UCLA - 2; Arizona - 1).

AWARDS WATCH

  • All-America honors have started to roll in beginning with the Associated Press’ announcement on Wednesday, March 16, which recognized Haley Jones (Stanford) on the first team, Cameron Brink (Stanford) on the third team and Cate Reese (Arizona) as an honorable mention selection.
  • Jones and Brink are also the Pac-12 representatives who remain on the national ballot for the Wooden Award (15 names) and are semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy (10 names).
  • Brink remains one of four finalists for Naismith Trophy Defensive Player of the Year accolades, and her head coach Tara VanDerveer is one of 10 semifinalists for Naismith Coach of the Year honors.
  • Jones (Cheryl Miller Award - SF) and Brink (Katrina McClain Award - PF) are also among five finalists for their respective postitional awards from the WBCA and Basketball Hall of Fame. 
  • The Pac-12 boasted 41 total selections from 10 schools on preseason watch lists for the Wade Trophy, Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy and Naismith Starting 5 positional awards. The conference’s 41 overall preseason watch list candidates were tied for the most in the country (SEC) and were the most on a per membership basis (3.42/member). The Pac-12 had more players on the preseason Wooden Award (10) and Naismith Trophy (9) watch lists than any other league.
  • Academically, Stanford’s Lexie Hull and Arizona’s Sam Thomas both repeated as CoSIDA Academic All-America first team members and the Cardinal’s Lacie Hull landed on the CoSIDA Academic All-America second team. The Pac-12’s two first teamers led all leagues and its three total academic All-Americans on the three, five-person teams tied with the Big Ten for the most.
  • Lexie Hull and Thomas are also two of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award, which is awarded to seniors or graduate-students with notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
  • In January, Thomas was also named the female recipient of the 17th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup and will be honored at an awards ceremony on April 28 at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. The yearly award is handed to the most outstanding role models among collegiate student-athletes. Thomas is the female recipient, while U.S. Merchant Marine Academy football player Josiah King the male honoree.
  • On Monday, March 15, Stanford associate head coach Kate Paye was named the WBCA Assistant Coach of the Year for Division I. She is the Pac-12’s first recipient of the award, which started in 2016.

LEARNING FROM THE BEST

  • Eleven 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 NCAA head coaches who were active in 2021-22 (including Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer) and have led a Division I team to the Final Four, 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 in the SEC 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).

#OLYMPIANSMADEHERE

  • Twelve Pac-12 women’s basketball players from eight schools represented seven National Olympic Committees at the 2020 Summer Games. The conference’s 12 women’s basketball Olympians in Tokyo were more than any other league.
School Olympians
Arizona Ify Ibekwe - Nigeria; Shaina Pellington, Canada
Arizona State Promise Amukamara - Nigeria
Oregon Maite Cazorla - Spain
Oregon State Ali Gibson - Puerto Rico
Stanford Alanna Smith - Stanford
UCLA Angela Dugalic - Serbia; Nirra Fields - Canada; Atonye Nyingifa - Nigeria
Utah Kim Gaucher - Canada; Leilani Mitchell - Australia
Washington Kelsey Plum - United States (3x3) *Gold*

UPCOMING SCHEDULE (Full Schedule)

Thursday, March 17    
Oregon State vs. Long Beach State [WNIT] Live Stream 7 p.m. PT
Friday, March 18    
#7 Colorado vs. #10 Creighton (Iowa City, Iowa) ESPNews 10:30 a.m. PT
#7 Utah vs. #10 Arkansas (Austin, Texas) ESPNews 2:30 p.m. PT
#1 Stanford vs. #16 Montana State (Stanford, Calif.) ESPN2 7 p.m. PT
UCLA vs. UC Irvine [WNIT] Live Stream 7 p.m. PT
Saturday, March 19    
#8 Washington State vs. #9 Kansas State (Raleigh, N.C.) ESPN2 8:30 a.m. PT
#5 Oregon vs. #12 Belmont (Knoxville, Tenn.) ESPN2 2:30 p.m. PT
#4 Arizona vs. #13 UNLV (Tucson, Ariz.) ESPN2 7 p.m. PT