Pac-12 women’s hoops showing off as NCAA tournament approaches
The Conference of Champions is leaving it all out on the court on its way to the dance.
As we close in on the NCAA DI Championship, which is set to take place in San Antonio, the action across Pac-12 women’s hoops just keeps getting better.
And for the third straight week, you can catch some of that action on ESPN2 when No. 8 UCLA hosts Oregon State on Sunday and No. 10 Arizona travels to California to face No. 6 Stanford (times below).
But for now, let’s dive into what happened around the Pac-12 over the last week.
More from NCAA
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, April 6: Stanford defeats Arizona in a tightly contested matchup to win the national title
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, March 30: UConn and Baylor deliver a classic battle of storied programs
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, March 26: Louisville and Texas A&M survive and advance
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, March 23: Highlights from the first round of the NCAA Tournament
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, March 16: Tournament bracket released
Stanford edges out the Ducks
Double-digit scoring performances from Kiana Williams (20), Cameron Brink (16) and Lexie Hull (13) helped push the Cardinal ahead of Oregon in what ended up being a close contest on Monday.
Stanford dominated much of the game, but the Ducks fought back and took their first lead with just over six minutes left to play.
A combination of increased trips to the free throw line for Oregon and decreased scoring for the Cardinal made this game interesting toward the end.
The Ducks had a 61-58 lead with less than two minutes left, but Williams tied it up on a three-pointer. Then, Brink followed it up with two free throws with less than 30 seconds left on the clock to lock in Stanford’s 63-61 victory.
It’s a huge win for the Cardinal, whose eyes are set on the Pac-12 title.
“It was kind of a heavyweight fight,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “It wasn’t what either team probably is used to, but you know we’re excited to be in first place in the Pac-12 and we really want to win a Pac-12 championship and we had to come through Oregon for the chance to do it.”
Moving 🔛 𝗨𝗣!@Kiana__W now ranks 11th in career scoring at Stanford!#GoStanford pic.twitter.com/th0nAsaOjd
— Stanford Women’s Basketball (@StanfordWBB) February 16, 2021
Charlisse Leger-Walker stays hot for Washington State
The New Zealand native earned her seventh Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors on Monday after averaging 24.0 points per game in a pair of road games against Arizona and Arizona State.
Leger-Walker kicked off her weekend with 19 points against No. 10/8 Arizona last Friday and one-upped herself on Sunday by putting up 29 points against the Sun Devils. The icing on the cake for the Cougars is that this is the 10th time this season the freshman guard has scored 20-or-more points in a game.
Leger-Walker has been battling with UCLA’s Charisma Osborne to take the lead in the Pac-12 in scoring. At the beginning of the week, she was averaging 19.5 points per game (a 0.6 ppg lead over Osborne). Believe it or not, we only have two weeks left of the regular season, and no freshman in Pac-12 history has ever ended the season as the conferences leading scorer.
Leger-Walker is well on her way to becoming WSU’s best freshman in program history.
Five Pac-12 teams predicted to make it to the NCAA tournament
Once again, the Conference of Champions is making themselves known throughout women’s basketball. Here’s a look at the latest rankings:
- No. 6 Stanford
- No. 8 UCLA
- No. 10 Arizona
- No. 13 Oregon
The conference has now boasted four or more teams in all 13 polls this season.
- No. 1 Stanford
- No. 5 Oregon
- No. 8 UCLA
- No. 11 Arizona
- No. 38 Washington State
- No. 52 Oregon State
- No. 56 USC
- No. 57 Colorado
- No. 74 Arizona State
The four teams in the top 11 here are the most of any other conference.
Prior to the NCAA’s reveal of the Top 16 bracket this week, The Next‘s bracketologist Russell Steinberg included five Pac-12 teams in his latest 2021 NCAA Tournament 64-team bracket prediction. He slotted Stanford as a one-seed, followed by Arizona as the two-seed and UCLA and as a three-seed and Oregon as a five-seed. Washington State made the cut as a nine-seed, which would be the first NCAA Tournament appearance for the Cougars since 1991.
Four of those Pac-12 teams ended up making it into the NCAA’s Top 16 bracket: Arizona, Oregon, UCLA and Stanford.
An action-packed weekend ahead in the Pac-12
Friday, Feb. 19
- Colorado at Washington State, 12 p.m.
- No. 10 Arizona at California, 12:30 p.m.
- Oregon State at USC, 2:30 p.m.
- No. 13 at Oregon at No. 8 UCLA, 5 p.m.
- Arizona State at No. 6 Stanford, 7 p.m.
- Utah at Washington, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 21
- Utah at Washington State, 12 p.m.
- No. 11 Oregon at USC, 12 p.m.
- Oregon State at No. 8 UCLA, 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
- Arizona State at California, 1 p.m.
- Colorado at Washington, 2 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 22
- No. 10 Arizona at No. 6 Stanford, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
All times listed are Pacific Standard Time.