Preview: First round of Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament

The tournament tips off on Wednesday in Las Vegas, with ASU taking on USC

ASU women’s basketball wrapped up its regular season last week with an exciting overtime victory over No. 9 UA. Now, the Sun Devils and the rest of the conference will convene to compete in the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament from March 3-7 in Las Vegas.

Here are some things to look for in the different matchups across the conference as play kicks off on Wednesday.

No. 9 ASU Sun Devils vs. No. 8 USC Trojans

On Wednesday at 3 p.m. MST, the Sun Devils will look to win against the Trojans for the right to advance to the second round. 

ASU won the first matchup against USC on Dec. 4 in Tempe 63-58. In that contest, the Sun Devils were largely carried by freshman guard Jaddan Simmons, who finished with a season-high 20 points.

In the second matchup on Jan. 31, ASU started the game flat and fell to USC 65-57. The performance prompted ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne to question her team's preparedness and knowledge of the playbook.

"They were not ready to play this game, and we even knew it as coaches when they went out and did their pre-shooting," Turner Thorne said after the game. "Our team barely knows our playbook to begin with."

Since then, Turner Thorne has mentioned her team now has an improved understanding of the playbook, but that will be put to the test against the Trojans.

The winner of this matchup will face No. 1 Stanford in the quarterfinals.


No. 5 Oregon State Beavers vs. No. 12 California Golden Bears

Both the Beavers and the Golden Bears had their seasons shortened due to a number of COVID-19-related cancellations, including the first two scheduled matchups between the two programs.

The Beavers feature All-Pac-12 senior guard Aleah Goodman, who finished the season averaging 16.8 points per game and a conference-best 52.6 percent from three-point range.

The last place Golden Bears finished 1-12 in conference play, with that lone victory coming against ASU on Feb. 21. Cal will look to repeat its performance in last year's first-round when it defeated the No. 5-seeded ASU despite being a No. 12 seed.

The winner of this matchup will face No. 4 Oregon next.

No. 7 Washington State Cougars vs. No. 10 Utah Utes

The Cougars will look to win against the Utes for the third time this season on Wednesday. 

Washington State features one of the best players in women's college basketball in Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Charlisse Leger-Walker

Leger-Walker showed out in her first two games against the Utes, putting up 23 points in the first matchup and 22 in the second matchup.

The Utes will look to contain Leger-Walker and put an end to its current five-game losing streak.

The winner of this matchup will face No. 2 UA. 

No. 6 Colorado Buffaloes vs. No. 11 Washington Huskies

The Buffaloes handled the Huskies in their first two matchups this season, winning 60-50 on Jan. 1 and then winning 55-50 on Feb. 21.

Colorado is led by forward Mya Hollingshed, who averaged a team-high 16.7 points per game. 

Colorado has proved to be a dangerous team at their best this season, as evidenced by their upset victory over then-No. 1 Stanford in overtime on Jan. 17.

Washington finished the regular season just 3-13 in conference play.

The winner of this matchup will face No. 3 UCLA in the next round.


Reach the reporter at ltochter@asu.edu and follow @Leo_Toch on Twitter.

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