Washington back on top in Pac-12 women's basketball rankings

The Huskies took advantage of Oregon State's loss and a win over ASU to regain control

Every Wednesday, The State Press will be taking a look around the Pac-12’s uber-competitive women’s basketball landscape as the conference tournament in Seattle nears. With each team fighting for a shot at a NCAA Tournament bid come March, each weekend’s Friday-Sunday set of games should be full of exciting action and marquee showdowns.

If the season ended today, the brackets for that conference tournament would looks as follows, based on conference record:

Here’s our third weekly Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Round-Up heading into another weekend of conference play, including headlines, top performers and power rankings, as well as a look at the bracketology projections of ESPN’s Charlie Creme.

Last Weekend’s Storylines

The Pac-12 is weird. USC beats Oregon State by 20 and loses to Oregon by 23. UCLA loses to Oregon State and Oregon. California comes in hot, loses twice to bottom-tier teams. This conference is wild, which should make for an exciting final few weeks.

The bubble is bursting for teams like California, Utah and Colorado. Each of these teams was considered a tournament team or bubble team as of a month ago, but looks to be in grave danger of a month off in March after struggling through the Pac-12. Cal is the biggest culprit, after starting the season 13-0 and now sitting at 17-8.  

Player of the Weekend

LaBrittney Jones | Senior F | Arizona
Friday: 18 points, 5 rebounds in 91-55 loss @ Washington
Sunday: 22 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists in 70-62 win @ Washington State

Power Rankings

Benjamin Shaul | The State Press

"Women’s basketball power rankings." Illustration published Wednesday Feb. 15, 2017.

#1 – No. 9 Washington (24-3, 12-2) | LW: No. 3
Last Weekend: vs. Arizona (W, 91-55), vs. ASU (W, 70-57)
Breakdown: It certainly helped that Stanford lost, but the Huskies' rout of Arizona and convincing win over ASU solidified them as the top dogs once again. Road games in Los Angeles won't be easy but are certainly winnable for the Huskies.
This Weekend: @ UCLA (Fri.), @ USC (Sun.)
Bracketology: No. 3 Seed vs. No. 14 UC Davis (EVEN)

#2 – No. 10 Stanford (22-4, 12-2) | Last Week: No. 1
Last Weekend: vs. Colorado (W, 64-51), vs. Utah (W, 87-51)
Breakdown: A sweep of the rocky mountain schools has Stanford back in business after a loss to UCLA. The Cardinal have a chance to stay at the top of the Pac-12 against a hot-and-cold Cal team.
This Weekend: @ California (Thu.), vs. California (Sun.) 
Bracketology: No. 3 Seed vs. No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast (EVEN)

#3 – No. 11 Oregon State (23-3, 12-2) | LW: No. 2
Last Weekend: vs. USC (L, 70-50), vs. UCLA (W, 68-61)
Breakdown: The Beavers' Jekyll-and-Hyde weekend has them back down to third place, as OSU fell by 20 to USC but topped UCLA by double digits. On the road, the Beavers have two winnable games this week.
This Weekend: @ Colorado (Fri.), @ Utah (Sun.)
Bracketology: No. 3 Seed vs. No. 14 Penn (DOWN)

#4 – No. 18 UCLA (18-7, 9-5) | LW: No. 4
Last Weekend: @ Oregon (L, 84-75), @ Oregon State (L, 68-61)
Breakdown: An 0-2 trip through Oregon didn't help the Bruins' cause, but an ASU loss to Washington kept UCLA two games ahead of the Sun Devils. The Bruins host Washington in a key matchup Sunday as they fight to host their first two tournament games in March.
This Weekend: vs. Washington (Fri.), vs. Washington State (Sun.)
Bracketology: No. 4 Seed vs. No. 13 Montana State (EVEN)

#5 – ASU (16-8, 7-7) | LW: No. 5
Last Weekend: @ Washington State (W, 61-58), @ Washington (L, 70-57)
Breakdown: ASU lost its head of steam with a 13-point defeat at Washington, but a gritty win over the Cougars keeps them in fifth with two very winnable games coming up against the rival Wildcats.
This Weekend: @ Arizona (Fri.), vs. Arizona (Fri.)
Bracketology: No. 7 Seed vs. No. 10 Indiana (EVEN)

#6 – Oregon (17-9, 7-7) | LW: No. 6
Last Weekend: vs. UCLA (W, 84-75), vs. USC (W, 73-50)
Breakdown: The Ducks' win over UCLA and dominant defeat of USC have them locked into the NCAA tournament. Oregon can solidify that even more at the Rocky Mountain schools this week. 
This Weekend: @ Utah (Fri.), @ Colorado (Sun.)
Bracketology: No. 8 Seed vs. No. 9 Iowa (EVEN)

#7 – California (17-9, 5-9) | LW: No. 7
Last Weekend: vs. Utah (L, 73-64), vs. Colorado (L, 64-59)
Breakdown: After picking up momentum with wins over UCLA and USC, Cal fell back down with losses to both Utah and Colorado. A weekend doubleheader with Stanford won't make things any easier for a team firmly on the bubble. 
This Weekend: vs. Stanford (Thu.), @ Stanford (Sun.)
Bracketology: First Four Out (DOWN)

#8 – Washington State (10-15, 5-9) | LW: No. 8
Last Weekend: vs. Arizona State (L, 61-58), vs. Arizona (L, 70-62) 
Breakdown: The Cougars' season looks grim with losses to ASU and Arizona. A trip to Los Angeles adds to WSU's top-five strength of schedule, but that's not going to help a team five games under .500. 
This Weekend: @ USC (Fri.), @ UCLA (Sun.)
Bracketology: Out (EVEN)

#9 – Utah (15-10, 4-10) | LW: No. 9
Last Weekend: @ California (W, 73-64), @ Stanford (L, 87-51)
Breakdown: Utah picked up a nice win at California but needs an outstanding finish in order to see the postseason. A couple of games against the Oregon schools could very well end any glimmer of hope left for the Utes.
This Weekend: vs. Oregon (Fri.), vs. Oregon State (Sun.)
Bracketology: Out (EVEN)

#10 – Colorado (14-11, 4-10) | LW: No. 10
Last Weekend: @ Stanford (L, 64-51), @ California (W, 64-59)
Breakdown: Colorado could certainly play its way into March with an explosive finish, but that doesn't look likely. Much like Utah, the Oregon schools have the opportunity to finish off the Buffaloes' slim postseason outlook this weekend. 
This Weekend: vs. Oregon State (Fri.), vs. Oregon (Sun.)
Bracketology: Out (EVEN)

#11 – USC (13-12, 4-10) | LW: No. 11
Last Weekend: @ Oregon State (W, 70-50), @ Oregon (L, 73-50)
Breakdown: USC built up a head of steam when it swept the Arizona schools, and a win over OSU helped, but the Trojans are another team in need of some magic in order to salvage their season.
This Weekend: vs. Washington State (Fri.), vs. Washington (Sun.)
Bracketology: Out (EVEN)

#12 – Arizona (12-13, 3-11) | LW: No. 12
Last Weekend: @ Washington (L, 91-55), @ Washington State (W, 70-62)
Breakdown: The Wildcats picked up a win over Washington State, which ended a seven-game drought, but a team with 13 losses would need a Pac-12 tournament miracle to see its season go past the next three weeks. 
This Weekend: vs. Arizona State (Fri.), @ Arizona State (Sun.)
Bracketology: Out (EVEN)

Games to Watch This Weekend

No. 9 Washington @ No. 16 UCLA – Friday, 9 p.m. MT: The only ranked matchup this weekend should provide a barometer for both teams, as UW looks to fight its way to a Pac-12 regular season title and UCLA looks to bolster its resume in search of a top-four NCAA seed. 

No. 10 Stanford @ California – Thursday, 9 p.m. MT:  With California sitting on the brink of a burst bubble and Stanford sitting on the edge of the nation's top 10, the Golden Bears need to at least split their home-and-home with the Cardinal in order to keep their tournament hopes intact.  


Reach the reporter at jeff.griffith21@asu.edu or follow @Jeff_Griffith21 on Twitter.

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