Pac-10 Women's Basketball Power Rankings

Photo: Point guard Eliza Pierre is averaging 6.8 points and 3.8 assists per game. The Pasadena, Calif., native will have a chance to play in front of family and friends Cal's trip to Los Angeles this weekend.
Sean Goebel/File
Point guard Eliza Pierre is averaging 6.8 points and 3.8 assists per game. The Pasadena, Calif., native will have a chance to play in front of family and friends Cal's trip to Los Angeles this weekend.

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No. 1: Stanford

There's really no reason that this needs to be explained. The Cardinal hasn't lost a conference match since the 2008-2009 season. If it does lose one this season, it might be this weekend against No. 9 UCLA.

No. 3 Stanford beat the Bruins by double-digits at home on Jan. 20. UCLA will have the home court, but against one of the top three teams in the nation, it's really not much of an advantage.

-Alex Matthews

No. 2: UCLA

It seems like the only constants this Pac-10 season are that Stanford beats everyone and UCLA beats everyone except for Stanford. The conference's top teams square off on Saturday, but the Bruins (21-2, 11-1) should not look past Thursday's matchup with Cal. Although the Bears have lost three consecutive games, they still gave UCLA a scare back on Jan. 22, a contest that the Bruins only won by nine points.

Nevertheless, the tilt with Stanford on Saturday is the marquee matchup of week in the Pac-10, and arguably of the rest of the year. UCLA has the opportunity to not only hand the Cardinal its first conference loss of the season but also stake a claim at the Pac-10 crown - if the Bruins win, they will likely finish the season tied for first place with Stanford.

-Jonathan Kuperberg

No. 3: Arizona State

Though it took a last minute 3-pointer to achieve it, the Sun Devils have earned a place in the top half of the Pac-10. Though a loss to the Bears earlier this season suggested that Arizona State wasn't a force to be reckoned with in the Pac-10, the Sun Devils earned the third-place spot this week because they're virtually the only team other than Stanford or UCLA that has shown any consistency in the second half of the season.

Really, the only demonstration of consistency comes from their victories over Cal and USC. Their loss to Arizona was one of the many upsets that has become a commonplace occurrence in the Pac-10 as of late.

-Alex Matthews

No. 4: USC

The Trojans (15-8, 7-5) have not looked formidable since winning their first four of five conference games, but since most of the conference is faltering, USC has steadily moved back up.

Sweeping the Oregon schools this past weekend was not overly impressive, but it's still two more wins while other teams are losing. The road swing broke the Trojans's dry spell, in which they lost four of five games.

Junior guard Briana Gilbreath has the most points, rebounds, blocks and steals, and the second-most assists, for a USC squad that is trying to stay on the NCAA tournament bubble.

-Jonathan Kuperberg

No. 5: Washington State

Washington State's win over Cal this weekend is virtually the only reason we've placed them in the top half of the league this week.

Other than that victory, the Cougars, like most of the Pac-10, haven't really shown the consistency to prove that they deserve a solid ranking in the conference. They lost to Washington and Arizona during the first half of conference play, but their coming match-ups against both those teams will provide a chance for redemption at home.

Though the first half of their season failed to demonstrate their potential, if the Cougars continue playing as they have so far in the second half, they may be able to turn their conference campaign around. Given past inconsistencies, however, whether that will actually happen is questionable.

-Alex Matthews

No. 6: Cal

The Bears (14-10, 6-7) have been an enigma all season long. After a successful non-conference season, Cal was blown out by Stanford in the Pac-10 opener. The Bears lost to the Washington schools, and then defeated USC and almost beat UCLA. When it seemed like Cal couldn't win on the road, it went up to Oregon and swept the Ducks and Beavers. And now, after winning three of four - and that fourth was lost on a last second shot - the Bears are swept at home to the Washington schools.

Saturday's rematch against the Trojans may decide whether or not Cal finishes with a losing record in the Pac-10, assuming it loses to Stanford and UCLA and beats the Oregon schools. But if there is anything one can take from the Bears' season so far, it's not to make assumptions.

-Jonathan Kuperberg

No. 7: Arizona

Arizona's win over Arizona State last weekend places them in the bottom of the league's entirely fluid middle tier. Though they are, the only team Cal consistently proved themselves capable of defeating by double-digits consistently, Arizona defeated both Washington and Washington State at home last month; they will road-trip north to play the teams again this weekend.

The Wildcats will lack the home court advantage of their last match-ups against the Cougars and the Huskies, and given that Arizona has failed to win a Pac-10 match-up on the road this season, they probably won't have a weekend as good as any of the other middle-of-the-pack teams.

-Alex Matthews

No. 8: Washington

Does the Huskies' placement as eighth in the power rankings - after beating Cal and losing to Stanford by only 10 - point to the strength of the Pac-10?

No, it actually points to how mediocre Washington (10-12, 5-8) has been discounting this past weekend. It lost to Oregon State earlier this season - the Beavers' only conference win - and totaled just 27 points in a Dec. 27 loss to Georgia Tech.

The Huskies, however, have played well as of late. They overpowered the Bears at home on Thursday, and came closer to beating the Cardinal on Saturday than any other Pac-10 team.

-Jonathan Kuperberg

No. 9: Oregon

The Ducks may not have the best record but they'll accomplish at least one thing: giving rival Oregon State's abysmal conference campaign a chance at redemption.

The Ducks' high scoring offense is countered by their own defense, which is just as helpless to prevent baskets as the offense is likely to make them. While the Beavers are unlikely to surpass Oregon in the rankings, last week's games against UCLA, when the Bruins got 75 points on the scoreboard in Eugene but only 58 in Corvallis, it's possible that the Ducks offense won't be enough even against the bottom of the Pac-10.

Given that the rivals' match-up this weekend will take place with Oregon State's home court advantage, the Ducks will need to put together something more than a ninth-place performance, a feat that Oregon hasn't proved themselves capable of yet this season.

-Alex Matthews

No. 10: Oregon State

The Beavers (8-16, 1-12) won their first conference game on Feb. 5, and it only took them 11 tries.

It was not surprising that coming off the high of the thrilling 51-46 victory over Washington, Oregon State would go back to its losing ways. There is no shame in being swept by the Los Angeles schools, but doing so at home and by a combined 39 points is a different story.

The Beavers' performances did not show much improvement from their first matchups in Los Angeles, when Oregon State lost both games by single digits. On Thursday, it was a close game at the half, but USC demolished the Beavers in the second half, outscoring them, 44-19. Oregon State finished with 16 fewer rebounds than the Trojans.

-Jonathan Kuperberg


Jonathan Kuperberg and Alex Matthews cover women's basketball. Contact them at [email protected].org.

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