The Pac-12 is the best women’s basketball conference in the country as three sit in the top-10 of the AP poll as ASU basketball faces Oregon and Oregon State.
This has been a wild week in women’s college basketball and it’s only Friday as the Pac-12 resumes play.
Nine AP ranked top-25 teams have lost this week with at least one more guaranteed to lose as No. 19 Arizona State faces No. 5 Oregon and No. 10 Oregon State this weekend.
When it comes to the Pac-12, it’s a congested field right now. Oregon, Stanford and Oregon State all sit at 4-0 in Pac-12 play with Utah right behind them at 4-1. Both Arizona schools are currently 3-2 in conference play.
It’s a crucial weekend for the Sun Devils, especially with many ranked teams losing in front of them, a win or two this weekend could move them up the seeding list in the NCAA Tournament.
In our second edition of Pac-12 women’s basketball power rankings, Oregon leads the pack.
Power Rankings: Preseason
1. Oregon Ducks (15-1, 4-0 Pac-12) Last Time: 1
The Ducks are 4-0 and have outscored Pac-12 opponents by 113 points. Better yet, they are the No. 1 scoring team in the country and they’re efficient.
Oregon leads the nation in field goal percentage at 52.2 percent and in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.85. The Ducks’ star-studded lineup has shown up big to start Pac-12 play.
They have had at least four players score double figures in all four wins thus far. Five average at least 10 points per game this season led by Sabrina Ionescu’s 19.3 points per game, Satou Sabally’s 17.5 PPG and Ruthy Hebard’s 17.3 PPG.
2. Stanford Cardinal (14-1, 4-0 Pac-12) LT: 2
The Cardinals is one of the hottest teams in the country and continued it this weekend. The No. 6 team in the nation traveled to Tempe, Arizona where they took on the No. 19 Arizona State Sun Devils in a competitive top-25 matchup.
Led by their star Alanna Smith, who had 25 points and six rebounds, the Cardinals were able to take the lead early in the first half and maintain it throughout the rest of the game. Stanford finished with a 72-65 victory before heading a little south to face the University of Arizona Wildcats.
Against the Arizona’s 11th-ranked scoring defense in Division 1, only allowing 54.4 points per game, the Cardinal had their way scoring 78 points.
Stanford’s defense also showed up in a big way. Arizona’s Aari McDonald, tied for second in the nation in scoring with 25.6 points per game, was held to just 17 points on 6-for-22 shooting.
Stanford’s dominating 78-48 win over Arizona makes them 14-1 on the year, and 4-0 in conference play. Currently on an eight-game win streak, Stanford will stay home this weekend as they host Washington on Friday and Washington State on Sunday looking to improve on their current success.
3. Oregon State Beavers (14-2, 4-0 Pac-12) LT: 3
The Beavers are back in the top-10 after spending a couple weeks at the No. 11 slot in the rankings.
Led by one of the most talented backcourts in the country in Destiny Slocum and Mikayla Pivec, the duo average nearly 30 points a game and lead the top three-point shooting team in the nation.
Despite the loss of Kat Tudor, Oregon State has maintained its high scoring offense and filled in the loss with great bench production.
In Pac-12 play, the Beavers lead the league at 4-0, but face tests at home against the Arizona schools, which have both played well this season. Most recently Oregon State is coming off a 21-point stomping of USC and remains perfect at home 9-0.
4. Arizona State Sun Devils (12-4, 3-2 Pac-12) LT: T-4
The Sun Devils had a real shot to upset No. 6 Stanford last Friday.
After a lackluster first half, ASU went on several runs to bring the game back into reach, but Stanford kept pulling away and won by seven.
Two days later, ASU pulled out a tough and gritty game to Cal behind 26 points from Kianna Ibis. The Devils are in the midst of a stretch where they play four straight ranked opponents with No. 5 Oregon and No. 10 Oregon State next.
A major accomplishment for Arizona State this year would be if they could host a regional. The latest ESPN Bracketology had them as a four seed, a host. In order to keep that spot for the time being, ASU will need to have a good showing this weekend which would require it to pull off its toughest win of the season.
It is 0-3 against top-10 teams this year. ASU will have two chances to pick up an upset of that caliber this weekend.
5. Utah Utes (15-1, 4-1 Pac-12) LT: 6
After losing a heartbreaker to Arizona State in their second conference game, the Utah Utes have rattled off three in a row including this past weekend against Washington State and Washington.
The first stop for the Utes was at the home of the Cougars. In a tough matchup with Washington State, the Utes barely scraped by with the victory by the score of 72-68.
Megan Huff and Dre’Una Edwards carried their team on their backs as they were the only ones to be in double-digits for Utah. Huff dropped 21 points with eight rebounds as Edwards added 20 points and six rebounds.
Their next contest was against the University of Washington as this game was much less of a competition for Utah. With a 58-43 victory led by Huff with 25 points and 12 rebounds, Utah is now 15-1 on the season and 4-1 in conference play.
With the team sitting on the edge of being ranked, this next series at home against Colorado and the Bay Area schools will be important in hopes of bolstering their resume.
6. Arizona Wildcats (13-3, 3-2 Pac-12) LT: 9
Coming into this weekend with a 12-2 record, the Arizona Wildcats split the weekend against two ranked opponents, California and Stanford.
In their first matchup against Cal, it was a tight contest that Arizona ended up winning 60-55. Aari McDonald showed why she is tied for second in the nation in scoring dropping 36 points shooting 5-for-8 from the 3-point line helping leading her team to a victory over the No. 24 ranked Cal Golden Bears.
Arizona then hosted the No. 6 ranked Stanford Cardinal in a game they wish they could do over again. The team struggled on both ends of the floor, allowing a season high 78 points on the defensive end and McDonald only scoring 17 points in the entire game.
After this weekend the Wildcats are now 13-3 and 3-2 in conference play. With one of the best defenses and scorers in the nation, this Wildcat team can be very dangerous. They will travel to face No. 10 Oregon State and No. 5 Oregon this weekend hoping to bolster their chances of breaking the top-25 ranking.
7. California Golden Bears (10-5, 1-3 Pac-12) LT: T-4
Although it hasn’t been an easy start to Pac-12 play for the Golden Bears, the team has fought through a tough schedule of opponents.
The team sits at 1-3 in conference play after getting swept by the Arizona schools. The Golden Bears lost by five to Arizona and a one-point heartbreaker in Tempe Sunday afternoon.
Against the Sun Devils, Kristine Anigwe went for 21 points and 16 rebounds and continues to lead the nation in rebounding.
Moving forward for a team looking to possibly making the NCAA tournament, Cal will need to finish the season close to perfect.
The Golden Bears should look to rebound from a slow start with the Washington schools coming into Berkeley, a couple of teams in the middle to lower part of the conference.
8. UCLA Bruins (9-8, 2-3 Pac-12) LT: 10
After starting Pac-12 play 2-0, the Bruins have dropped three straight games including getting swept at home by the Oregon schools.
Last Friday, UCLA lost 83-73 versus Oregon State as the Beavers shot 56 percent from the field with guards Destiny Slocum and Mikayla Pivec combining for 43 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
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The Bruins couldn’t match their high-scoring offense as they shot just 38 percent from the field. Forward Michaela Onyenwere has emerged as the Bruins’ best player this season as she led the team with 24 points and six rebounds against the Beavers.
Similar to their game against the Beavers, UCLA had struggles matching Oregon’s offensive output as the Ducks cruised to a 72-52 win.
Oregon had four starters scoring in double-figures, but it was the battle on the glass that sunk the Bruins.
Ducks center Ruthy Hebard finished with 19 points and 18 rebounds and forward Satou Sabally finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. In total, Oregon outrebounded UCLA 47-29.
For the Bruins, Onyenwere led the team with 13 points.
UCLA will look to snap their three-game losing streak against USC on Sunday after winning the first meeting 72-65.
9. Washington State Cougars (7-9, 2-3 Pac-12) LT: 12
Entering Pac-12 play at 5-6, WSU looked like a good pick to finish last in the conference. But, the Cougars are 2-3 as they’ve so far beaten up on the lower teams in the standings, Washington by three and Colorado by 26.
Of WSU’s three losses, two were close games with a four-point loss to a tough Utah squad and a seven-point defeat to No. 10 Oregon State.
2-3 isn’t ideal, but for a developing team in a tough conference, Washington State has performed admirably. The Cougars have snuck into the top-30 in the country in field-goal percentage and are 31st in three-point percentage.
T-10 Washington Huskies (8-9, 1-4 Pac-12) LT: 11
The Huskies, thanks to the absence of Colorado’s Kennedy Leonard, defeated the Buffaloes last weekend to secure their first Pac-12 win of the season.
Washington had three finish in double-figures with guard Amber Melgoza leading the team with 15 points.
The Huskies played strong defense on the Buffaloes as they shot 39 percent from the field and 5-for-21 from 3-point range.
On Sunday, they got off to a slow start against Utah and dropped the game 58-43. Utah had a 15-point halftime lead and Washington was unable to mount a comeback thanks to a balanced scoring attack from the Utes.
Utah shot 51 percent from the field while Washington was 34 percent from the field. Not going to win many games shooting 34 percent from the field.
Washington hits the road for a tough Bay Area swing against No. 6 Stanford and California, who just dropped out of the AP poll this week.
T-10. USC Trojans (10-6, 0-5 Pac-12) LT: 7
After starting the season 10-1, the Trojans have collapsed since entering conference play. The team is 0-5 and now sit tied for last in the Pac-12.
The biggest issue for USC has been the struggles of both Mariya and Minyon Moore, who have struggled to shoot, especially from three, over the past couple weeks.
The team as a whole has only shot 34 percent and 25.8 percent from deep since Pac-12 began. On the positive for the Trojans, the team shot 90.5 percent (19-21) from the free throw line in a loss to Oregon State, a place where the team has typically struggled from during the season.
Over the next 12 days, USC only has one game, taking on rival UCLA, before traveling next week to take on the Arizona schools.
12. Colorado Buffaloes (10-6, 0-5 Pac-12) LT: 8
It was a tough weekend for the Buffaloes as they were swept by the Washington schools without their best player.
Guard Kennedy Leonard, the Buffaloes leading scorer, missed both games with a foot injury. She was seen on a scooter with her injured foot elevated on it.
Colorado lost 68-58 to Washington as the Buffs couldn’t overcome a 27-14 deficit after the first quarter. Guards Quinessa Caylao-Do and Mya Hollingshed scored 13 points each as the team shot just 39 percent from the field.
Against Washington State, Colorado couldn’t contain the Cougars’ weapons as they fell 74-48. Washington State forward Borislava Hristova tallied another 20-point performance finishing with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
Guard Chanelle Molina orchestrated the offense finishing with 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
It was another tough shooting afternoon for Colorado as they shot just 34 percent from the field with Caylao-Do leading the team with 18 points as she continues her breakout season.
Road doesn’t get easier for Colorado as they face a red-hot Utah team on the road Friday night. The Utes took the first meeting in Boulder 76-61.