The Daily Californian Online

Pac-10 Women's Basketball Power Rankings

By Jonathan Kuperberg and Alex Matthews
Daily Cal Staff Writers
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Category: Sports > Winter > Basketball (Women's)

Sophomore guard Eliza Pierre scored 12 points on a game-high 17 shots in the Cal women's basketball team's 80-67 loss to USC on Saturday. The Bears have now lost their last five consecutive games.

No. 1: Stanford

On Sunday, the Cardinal played then No. 9 UCLA at Pauley Pavilion without top player Nnemkadi Ogwumike - and still won by 14 points. You wouldn't have known Stanford (24-2, 15-0 in the Pac-10) was missing Ogwumike, the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year and All American forward (and arguably the nation's best - or second best - player). Her freshman sister Chiney stepped up and played perhaps her best game of the season, finishing with a monster double double of 18 points and 15 rebounds.

The game was actually tied at the half, but the Cardinal went on a 14-4 run to open the half and take control of the game. The same thing happened on Friday against USC. Stanford was up by only two points at the half, but went on a 12-2 streak at the start of the second period to break open the contest.

With the road sweep, the Cardinal has moved up to No. 2 in the country, behind only two-time defending champ Connecticut, who Stanford has already beaten this season. It should be smooth sailing for the Cardinal until the Final Four, when the two foes will inevitably meet up once again.

-Jonathan Kuperberg



No. 2: UCLA

This weekend's matchup against Stanford was the only game that could have changed UCLA's place in the conference. Defeated only by the Cardinal in the first half of Pac-10 play, the Bruins were the only team that had a running chance of beating No. 3 Stanford, if that. Sunday's not-unexpected loss put UCLA in its place: on top of everyone else, but not quite the best.

With just the Arizona and Washington teams ahead, it's likely that's where the Bruins will stay.

-Alex Matthews



No. 3: Arizona State

With its Feb. 13 loss to Arizona as an exception to the rule, Arizona State has been the one of the only middle-of-the-pack teams to show much consistency this season. Yet its hold on a top-three spot is precarious. The Sun Devils only managed to beat Cal with a last second 3-pointer. Though they beat USC last time around, the Trojans will be looking for revenge. Yet, with Oregon and Oregon State still ahead, if Arizona State can keep it together for a season sweep of USC, its chances at finishing in third place look good.

-Alex Matthews



No. 4: USC

While Cal had an early season win over USC this year, it was the Trojans' consistency that won out in the end. Their only other losses between the last time they played Cal and Sunday's 80-67 victory over the Bears were to Arizona State, UCLA and Stanford. Really, USC has only dropped one game that wasn't an inevitable loss since its last matchup against the Bears. The Trojans' second meeting with the Sun Devils this weekend could be a game-changer. If USC can pull out the win on its home court, the Trojans will elevate themselves to the top-three in the Pac-10 and lead the tier below Stanford and UCLA. If it loses, USC won't see many chances for redemption, with only the Washington teams to follow.

-Alex Matthews



No. 5: Arizona

Arizona doesn't really deserve a place anywhere near the upper-echelons of the Pac-10 rankings. Why are the Wildcats here? Because every team below them deserves the spot less.

The team had a pretty abysmal first half of conference play, but it at least beat the Washington and Oregon teams, meaning the team isn't totally hopeless. Fresh off a three-game winning streak in which they defeated Arizona State, the Wildcats have at least been playing better than Cal as of late, in spite of the fact that the Bears beat Arizona twice.

-Alex Matthews



No. 6: Washington State

Despite being swept by the Arizona schools this weekend, the Cougars have managed to have some wins, pushing them just above the bottom tier of the conference. The team's sweep of Cal and an early season victory over Arizona State has kept Washington State atop the bottom half of the conference. Losing to Washington and just about everyone but the Oregon teams and Cal is what put the Cougars at the bottom of the pack in the first place.

-Alex Matthews



No. 7: Washington

After arguably their best weekend of the season two weeks ago - beating Cal and challenging and losing narrowly to mighty Stanford - the Huskies reverted back to their default form, getting swept at home to the Arizona schools.

Washington (10-14, 5-10) shot under 40 percent from the field in both games. On Thursday, it took guard Kristi Kingma 20 shots to score 18 points in the Huskies' 71-63 loss to Arizona State. In her team's 74-66 loss to Arizona on Saturday, she once again threw up 20 attempts, this time improving her rate and finishing with 21 points.

Saturday's matchup against conference rival Washington State should be a barn burner, but don't expect an upset when the Los Angeles schools travel to Seattle the last week of the season.

-Jonathan Kuperberg



No. 8: Cal

After an epidemic of losses the last few weeks, the Bears' best medicine might just be Duck. Losers of five straight, Cal (14-12, 6-9) hopes to return to its winning ways, and hosting the Pac-10's two worst teams could not have happened at a better time.

The Bears crushed Oregon by 16 points at Matthew Knight Arena a month ago, and the Ducks currently have an even longer losing streak than Cal. The Bears cruised to a 13-point win over Oregon State, but of late, the Beavers have had more success. They have more wins in February (two) than Cal (one).

Cal made less than one-third of its shots on its Los Angeles road trip. The Bears were 3-of-16 from 3-point range and committed 25 turnovers against UCLA. Against USC, Cal allowed Trojan center Kari LaPlante to almost triple her scoring average and could not stop Ashley Corral from the perimeter (7-of-8 3-pointers).

-Jonathan Kuperberg



No. 9: Oregon

In a battle between Pac-10 bottom feeders, the Ducks lost, 61-59, to the Beavers. The teams' combined 4-22 conference record going in made for a competitive clash. They were playing for a coveted ninth-place finish in the Pac-10, and with Oregon State's win, it now needs one more Oregon loss to to get that ninth-place tie.

Both teams shot under 40 percent from the field and 3-point range. The Ducks (12-13, 3-11) made seven more 3-pointers than the Beavers but 21 turnovers and 16 fewer free throw attempts gave the edge to Oregon State.

The Ducks travel to Berkeley to face Cal on Thursday, looking to shake off a seven-game losing streak and avenge the Bears' 16-points blowout win in Eugene on Jan. 29.

-Jonathan Kuperberg



No. 10: Oregon State

The Beavers launched a lot of long bombs in the Civil War, but were off target. Despite shooting 4-for-22 (18.2 percent) from behind the arc, Oregon State still came up with the victory, doubling the squad's conference win total. The Beavers (9-16, 2-12) received strong performances from their upperclassmen. Senior El Sara Greer had a game-high 21 points and 13 rebounds. Junior guard Earlysia Marchbanks contributed 17 points, grabbed seven rebounds, dished out four assists and stole the ball six times.

After losing its first 10 conference games, Oregon State is on a tear, winning two of its last four. That momentum might be the difference between a 40-point loss and another 30-points loss when the Beavers face off against Stanford on Thursday.

-Jonathan Kuperberg



Article Link: http://archive.dailycal.org/article/112061