Only one more week after this…more movement. Except at the top.
- Stanford (26-1, 17-0). The Cardinal will close their home schedule with a non-conference game against Seattle University before Sunday night’s Pac-12 finale against Cal at Haas Pavilion, which is the last place where Stanford lost a conference game.
- Cal (22-7, 13-4). The Bears have locked up second place and the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. Layshia Clarendon has led Cal in scoring in each of the last four games.
- Gonzaga (14-2, 25-4). Gonzaga captured the WCC regular-season title – that makes eight straight – with a convincing win over BYU and will go into this week’s conference tournament as the No. 1 seed.
- Fresno State (23-5, 11-1). The Bulldogs stumbled with a 62-61 loss to San Jose State this weekend. FSU closes its home schedule against Louisiana Tech on Thursday night.
- USC (16-11, 10-6). The Women of Troy have won four in a row and have good momentum heading into their final road weekend at the Washington schools.
- San Diego State (21-6, 11-2). The Aztecs were out-rebounded for only the third time this season and fell at Colorado State over the weekend. Courtney Clements has scored 20 or more points 11 times this season.
- BYU (24-6, 12-4). A 17-point loss to Gonzaga cost the Cougars a shot at their first WCC title, but they could certainly make a run at the conference tournament title in Las Vegas.
- UCLA (14-13, 9-7). The Bruins are in a tie for fourth place with Oregon State heading into the final weekend. Why is that important, the top four teams in the Pac-12 get a first-round bye in the conference tournament.
- Oregon State (18-9, 9-7). The Beavers want that No. 4 seed, but there are also pretty happy about sweeping rival Oregon in the season series and winning three in a row for the first time since 1994.
- San Diego (21-7, 12-4). The Torreros have tied a program record with 21 victories.
With two weeks to go until conference tournaments, the picture crystallizes…
- Stanford (24-1, 15-0). The Cardinal have clinched their 12th straight conference title and it’s the final Pac-12 home weekend with Utah and Colorado making their first visits.
- Cal (20-7, 11-4). The Bears get to 20 wins for the fifth time in the last six years and get a big weekend in Oregon from junior guard Layshia Clarendon, who combined for 49 points in the two wins.
- Fresno State (22-4, 10-0). The Bulldogs remain perfect in the WAC at 10-0 after an 18-point win over second-place Utah State on Saturday. One more win and FSU clinches the league title.
- Gonzaga (13-2, 24-4). The Zags are back in first place and get a rematch against BYU this weekend with the conference regular-season title on the line.
- San Diego State (20-5, 10-1). The Aztecs have a two-game lead over second-place Colorado State with three to play.
- BYU (23-5, 11-3). Thursday’s home loss to last-place USF is going to cost the Cougars their spot in the national rankings and it’s a bad late-season loss for a team that wants to make the case that it deserves to be included in the NCAA field.
- Arizona State (18-8, 9-6). An important sweep this weekend for ASU, who moved into sole possession of third place. The Sun Devils, on the road for their final three Pac-12 games, cannot afford a stumble at the finish if the Sun Devils want a look from the NCAA selection committee. And the trip next weekend to L.A. is going to be tough.
- USC (14-11, 8-6). The Women of Troy might finally be finding a groove, getting back-to-back wins over top-tier conference foes in Cal and UCLA.
- UCLA (12-13, 7-7). Markel Walker posted her ninth double-double of the year in the loss to USC.
- Oregon State (17-9, 8-7). This past weekend was something of a reality check for the Beavers, getting swept by the powerful Bay Area schools. OSU drops into fourth place in the conference standings and will want to hang on to that spot in order to finish with a first-round bye in the conference tournament.
OK, I decided to add BYU into the mix. They are playing in the West Coast Conference , after all…
1. Stanford (20-1, 11-0). The Cardinal got pushed again by ASU and then thumped the Wildcats in Tucson. Another telling weekend coming up against USC and UCLA.
2. Cal (17-6, 8-3). A big sweep in Arizona for the Bears, who maintain their standing as the undisputed No. 2 team in the conference and a chance to avenge the L.A. weekend losses coming this week.
3. Gonzaga (21-3, 10-1). The Zags have nailed down their sixth-straight 20-win season and face their biggest challenge of the WCC season on the road against Utah on Thursday night in Provo.
4. Fresno State (19-4, 7-0). A very big down-to-the-wire win in Ruston against Louisiana Tech propels the Bulldogs to an unbeaten first half of WAC play.
5. Arizona State (15-7, 6-5). The Sun Devils have a shot at making the NCAA Tournament, despite this weekend’s sweep at the hands of the Bay Area schools. But they need to win most of the rest of the way and feel fortunate that the unbalanced schedule means they won’t see either Cal or Stanford again until the conference tournament.
6. San Diego State (16-6, 6-1). The Aztecs 12-game winning streak came to an end at TCU on Saturday, a loss in which they shot just 23.4 percent from the floor. Saturday’s game against UNLV is an important one.
7. BYU (21-4, 9-2). OK, throwing BYU into the mix after deciding they are indeed on the West Coast radar. The Lions are challenging the status quo in the WCC, giving Gonzaga and run and also competing well in a conference that is as competitive as it has been in recent memory.
8. UCLA (12-10, 7-4). It’s a nice run for the Bruins, who have collected four straight wins, including two overtime victories, heading into the difficult Bay Area trip. Markel Walker is setting the tone, posting the conferences first triple-double since 2004 (14 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists) with her performance against Washington State.
9. San Diego (15-5, 6-2). The Torreros are now in sole possession of third place in the WCC behind BYU and Gonzaga.
10. USC (12-10, 6-5). The wheels are coming off for USC, who fell to Washington at home for the first time since 2006 last weekend. Heading north to the Bay Area schools doesn’t make the picture much brighter.
1. Stanford (18-1, 9-0). A to-the-limit overtime win over Cal sling-shots the Cardinal into the second half of the Pac-12 schedule. Chiney Ogwumike could end up as the conference player of the week for the third week in a row, a reward for her surging play.
2. Cal (15-6, 6-3). Oh-so-close for the Bears, who should have some good momentum heading into the Arizona trip this weekend.
3. Gonzaga (19-3, 8-1). The Zags avenged their only conference loss by winning at St. Mary’s on Saturday. They needed it to keep pace with BYU, which keeps winning and is now nationally ranked.
4. Arizona State (15-5, 6-3). The winners of five straight games, the Sun Devils are hosting the Bay Area schools this week and that will present a big challenge to their win streak.
5. Fresno State (17-4, 5-0). Six straight wins all by double-digits for the Bulldogs, the only unbeaten team in the WAC, who may start to get a look in the national rankings.
6. San Diego State. (16-4, 6-0). Twelve straight wins for Beth Burns’ team, the program’s longest winning streak in 17 years.
7. USC (10-9, 5-4). The Women of Troy got swept in their first-ever road trip to Colorado and Utah and their NCAA hopes are dimming fast.
8. San Diego (15-5, 6-2). The Torreros are now in sole possession of third place in the WCC behind BYU and Gonzaga.
9. St. Mary’s (16-7, 7-3). The Gaels couldn’t hold at home on to pull off the season sweep against Gonzaga, but are keeping pace in an improved conference this season.
10. UNLV (17-5, 6-1). Four straight wins and seven of eight for Kathy Olivier’s Rebels.
1. Stanford (13-1, 4-0). Saturday’s Oregon State win was not a good look for the Cardinal, who are struggling to get more production from their guards while the Ogwumike sisters carry the scoring load. Next up are first-time Pac-12 meetings on the road against Utah and Colorado.
2. Gonzaga (14-2, 3-0). The Zags have won nine in a row and get out of their first conference road trip with a pair of decisive wins against Pepperdine and LMU.
3. USC (8-6, 3-1). The Women of Troy showed a lot by going on the road to sweep the Arizona schools. Five players scored in double-figures in the Saturday win over Arizona. Next up, the rivalry game against UCLA on Saturday.
4. Cal (11-5, 2-2). The Bears followed up a tough weekend in LA with a home sweep against the Oregon schools. Chalk it up to winning the games they should win. Saturday’s 90-point effort against Oregon was Cal’s highest-scoring game of the year.
5. Arizona State (10-4, 1-2). This was not the way to prove that the Sun Devils are contenders to be among the top teams in this conference. ASU is shooting a conference-worst 26.6 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.
6. UCLA (7-8, 2-2). The Bruins beat the Sun Devils, but the fact that they don’t have a winning record keeps them below the ASU in these rankings. Still, it was an as-good-as-one-can-hope-for weekend for Cori Close’s team in the desert.
7. Washington State (9-7, 3-1). A one-point loss to Colorado puts the first blemish on the Cougars’ conference mark, but this kind of start is still a sign of very good things in Pullman.
8. San Diego (10-3, 1-0). A 17-point win over St. Mary’s is an emphatic move to establishing the Torreros as the second-best team in the WCC.
9. Fresno State (11-4). A nailbiting loss to UNLV is the second-to-last game on the non-conference schedule. A game against Seattle U on the 11th puts the finishing touch on the preseason. The defeat ended a run of six straight wins.
10. St. Mary’s (11-4, 2-0). The Gaels have to pick up after the San Diego loss, which ends a seven-game win streak, and find the bright side after a career-high 24 points from Alex Carbonel.
Happy New Year! Some 2012 shuffling has broken out now that the conference season has begun!
1. Stanford (11-1, 2-0). It was not the prettiest weekend ever, the Cardinal gutting out an off-night to win at USC and then having an easier time against UCLA, but its clear that the Cardinal are still the class of this conference. Sophomore guard Toni Kokenis playing better ever since big game against Tennessee.
2. Gonzaga (12-2, 1-0). The Zags had a great holiday tournament in Vegas, defeating Georgia and Dayton and got the WCC schedule off on the right foot. A definitive move into the No. 2 spot with seven straight victories. Next up a road weekend in LA against Pepperdine and LMU.
3. Arizona State (10-2, 1-0). The Sun Devils soundly defeated rival Arizona to open the Pac-12 schedule and snap a six-game Wildcats win streak. This is still not a team that can put a lot of points on the board and they will be tested with the L.A. teams coming up this week.
4. Cal (9-5, 0-2). Big step backward for a Bears team that was on the verge of the national rankings before getting swept by UCLA and USC. Cal averaged 54.5 points in those two games and were 22 of 39 from the free-throw line.
5. USC (6-6, 1-1). The Women of Troy are scrambling to collect enough wins to get NCAA Tournament eligible. The loss to Stanford didn’t help, but the decisive win over Cal was an indication of the level this team is capable of playing.
6. UCLA (6-7, 1-1). A split against the Bay Area schools was a strong start for the Bruins considering the injury issues. Markel Walker’s 11-point, seven-rebound game is a promising sign.
7. Fresno State (10-3). Five straight wins for the Bulldogs, who move on to face UT-Arlington on Tuesday and then UNLV on Friday.
8. Washington State (8-6, 2-0). A double-overtime victory over Oregon State gave the Cougars a road sweep to open the Pac-12 schedule, the program’s first-ever conference road sweep for the first time since 1994-95.
9. St. Mary’s (11-4, 2-0). The Gaels opened WCC play with a big win, defeating BYU in Moraga to end the Cougars 10-game win streak. SMC has won six in a row.
10. San Diego (9-3). No shame in a one-point loss to No. 13 Texas Tech on Friday. Saturday’s game against St. Mary’s will be a very good one.