Pac-12 Women's Basketball Weekly Release - March 30, 2022
- For the 15th time, defending national champion Stanford will represent the Pac-12 in the Final Four when its faces UConn on Friday, April 1 at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The Cardinal’s appearance in the national semifinals will be the 20th for the conference all-time. Of those 20 Final Four appearances, a national-best seven have come in just the past six NCAA Tournaments (35 percent). [USC also made three Final Fours in 1983, 1984 and 1986, which was prior to the start of Pac-12 women’s basketball in 1986-87.]
- Since the 2015-16 season, the Pac-12 leads all conferences in Final Four appearances (7), NCAA Tournament wins (76) and NCAA Tournament winning percentage (.691).
NCAA TOURNAMENT WINNING PERCENTAGE (SINCE 2016)
TOTAL FINAL FOUR APPEARANCES (SINCE 2016)
- Stanford is attempting to become the first repeat national champion since UConn won four in a row from 2013-16. Only three programs have won back-to-back titles since the NCAA Tournament started in 1982 - the Huskies, Tennessee and USC. The Women of Troy won their national crowns in 1983 and 1984 as a member of the Western Collegiate Athletic Association.
- The Cardinal is 5-9 in national semifinal games all-time and 5-8 under Tara VanDerveer. A win would put Stanford in its sixth national championship game all-time (2021, 2010, 2008, 1992, 1990) and in back-to-back title games for the first time.
- With a win, Stanford would join UConn (129) and Tennessee (128) as the only programs with 100 or more NCAA Tournament victories. The Cardinal’s .762 NCAA Tournament winning percentage is third all-time among programs with a minimum of 20 games behind UConn (.860; 129-21) and Tennessee (.800; 128-31).
- The only conference to win 500 NCAA championships, current Pac-12 member institutions have claimed a record 540 NCAA team titles, over 200 more than the next league (Big Ten - 322). Since the start of NCAA women’s sports sponsorship in 1981-82, Pac-12 programs have won a total of 373 national championships, an average of more than nine per year. Of the conference’s 540 all-time titles, 197 have come from women’s sports, 87 more than the second-place SEC.
- Winners of seven of its last eight, UCLA is still alive in the WNIT and will play in the semifinals at South Dakota State on Thursday, March 31 at 5 p.m. PT. The Bruins are 10-0 all-time in the event. They won the championship in their only other WNIT appearance in 2015, and used that as a springboard to advance to four straight NCAA Sweet 16s from 2016-19, including the Elite Eight in 2018.
PAC-12 POSTSEASON SUCCESS
- 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 nine. Those nine 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 nine NCAA Tournaments.
DIFFERENT TEAMS TO APPEAR IN A FINAL FOUR (SINCE 2013)
|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)
|T6.||Big 12/Big Ten||1|
- 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
|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)|
- Stanford is in consecutive Final Fours for the first time since it was a national semifinalist in five straight years from 2008-12.
- The Cardinal has won 10 straight NCAA Tournament games dating back to last season and six of those 10 victories have been by double digits. Stanford’s wins in last season’s Final Four were each by one point, 66-65 over South Carolina and 54-53 over Arizona.
- A No. 1 seed for the 12th time, Stanford is a No. 1 seed in consecutive seasons for the first time since a four-year run from 2010-13. This is the ninth time it has made the Final Four as a No. 1 seed.
- The Cardinal is 45-8 as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and 4-4 in the national semifinals as a No. 1 seed, with wins coming in 1990, 1992, 2010 and 2021. Four of the Cardinal’s five prior title-game appearances have come as a No. 1 seed. No. 2 seed Stanford reached the national final in 2008 by beating No. 1 seed UConn in the Final Four, 82-73.
- Stanford is 84-8 all-time in the NCAA Tournament against lower seeds and 1-0 against UConn when Huskies are the lower seed. In 2005, No. 2 seed Stanford beat No. 3 seed UConn in the Sweet 16, 76-59.
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)
|1.||Big 12||2011-12||.861 (99-16)|
- This season, every one of the conference’s 12 teams is 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 earlier this week, 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).
- All-America honors 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.
- One day later, Jones (second team) and Brink (third team) were honored as USBWA All-Americans and they are also the Pac-12 representatives who remain on the national ballot for the Wooden Award (15 names).
- 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.
- Brink, Jones and Lexie Hull are Region 5 finalists for 2022 WBCA NCAA Division I Coaches’ All-America along with Mya Hollingshed (Colorado), Charlisse Leger-Walker (Washington State), Charisma Osborne (UCLA), Te-Hina Paopao (Oregon), Cate Reese (Arizona) and Nyara Sabally (Oregon).
- 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.
- 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 18 U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) first-, second- and third-team All-Americans since 2016, tied with the 14-team SEC and one more than the Big Ten (17).
- 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.
|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 31 • WNIT Semifinals|
|Seton Hall at Middle Tennessee||ESPN3||4:30 p.m. PT|
|UCLA at South Dakota State||ESPN3||5 p.m. PT|
|Friday, April 1 • Final Four|
|#1 South Carolina vs. #1 Louisville||ESPN||4 p.m. PT|
|#1 Stanford vs. #2 UConn||ESPN||6:30 p.m. PT|
|Saturday, April 2 • WNIT Championship|
|UCLA/South Dakota State vs. Seton Hall/Middle Tennessee||CBS Sports Network||noon PT|
|Sunday, April 3 • National Championship|
|Stanford/UConn vs. South Carolina/Louisville||ESPN||5 p.m. PT|