Pac-12 power rankings: Stanford holds top spot in women’s basketball

Before the season started, the Pac-12 figured to be a very competitive conference for women’s basketball, with three teams in the preseason AP Top 25 and two more receiving votes.

As the schedule has moved into conference play across the nation, it is becoming clear who the true contenders are and which teams were overvalued by voters.

The conference is shaping up to be just as good as expected and have a very competitive conference season.

1.Stanford (17-1, 6-0 Pac-12)

The No. 4 Cardinal are back to their old tricks. Led by senior forward Chiney Ogwumike’s 27.3 points per game, Stanford is running roughshod through its schedule and looking to get back to the Final Four for the sixth time in seven years.

2.ASU (15-3, 4-2 Pac-12)

The No. 14 Sun Devils have beaten three ranked teams this year and have won games both close and in blowouts, proving its place in the national rankings. Redshirt senior guard Deja Mann and senior guard Adrianne Thomas are the leading scorers for the Sun Devils, averaging 11.1 and 9.6 points per game, respectively.

3.California (13-4, 5-1 Pac-12)

After the program’s first ever Final Four appearance, the No. 19 Golden Bears are out to prove that last season was no fluke. Out of Cal’s four losses, three have come to teams ranked in the AP Top 25, and two were to teams ranked in the top two.

4.Washington State (11-7, 5-1 Pac-12)

The Cougars had an up and down start to the season, but a 5-1 start to conference play has put the Pac-12 on alert. Junior guard Tia Presley averages 19.3 points per game and sophomore guard Lia Galdeira puts in 18.6 to pace WSU.

5.USC (13-6, 6-1 Pac-12)

The Trojans have struggled against ranked opponents, going 1-3 to this point of the season, including the team’s only conference loss to ASU at Wells Fargo Arena.

6.Colorado (11-6, 1-5 Pac-12)

Although ranked in the AP Top 25, the Buffaloes have not come up with a signature win so far this year. Colorado is 0-3 against ranked teams and has not been able to pull away in any of its wins against teams that could be in the NCAA Tournament.

7.UCLA (10-9, 4-3 Pac-12)

Defining average this year, the Bruins have traded off wins and losses evenly this season and have not had a streak, either winning or losing, of more than two games this season. UCLA is 1-5 against teams in the AP Top 25 this year.

8.Washington (10-7, 3-3 Pac-12)

The Huskies started out the year receiving AP Top 25 votes, but dropped off after losing their first two games to Saint Mary’s and Portland. The Huskies lost two-time All-Pac-12 guard Kristi Kingma to graduation, and the team has not been able to find someone to fill her shoes.

9.Oregon State (10-8, 2-4 Pac-12)

Other than going 0-4 against AP Top 25 teams, the Beavers have played well this season behind their two starting guards, sophomore Jamie Weisner and freshman Sydney Wiese.

10.Utah (8-9, 1-5 Pac-12)

The Utes have been a streaky team this year, owning both a five-game win streak and a five-game losing streak, the latter of which was broken Sunday. Senior forward Michelle Plouffe has been the main contributor for the Utes, averaging 17.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.

11.Oregon (9-8, 0-6 Pac-12)

The Ducks started the season 9-2, but Pac-12 play has not treated Oregon well. Despite freshman guard Chrishae Rowe and sophomore forward Jillian Alleyne both averaging more than 20 points per game, Oregon has not beaten a quality opponent so far this season.

12.UA (4-13, 0-6 Pac-12)

The women’s team is not nearly on the same level as the men’s program. The Wildcats have four wins on the year, and just one came against a team from a major conference, Texas Tech (6-11).

Reach the reporter at mtonis@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @Tonis_The_Tiger