The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Thankful for winning: Pac-12 women’s basketball programs a combined 54-4 entering Thanksgiving

Six ranked programs, no program with more than one loss in season’s first two and a half weeks

Six ranked programs, 31 wins and zero losses in the first week of Pac-12 women’s basketball.

One week removed from that thrilling start, not much has changed. That is to say, the Pac-12 continues to win.

The Pac-12 is a combined 54-4 two and a half weeks into the season. Eight teams are undefeated, no team has more than one loss and six programs are among the AP top 25 in college women’s basketball.

The Conference of Champions has 553 National Championships to its name, including five National Championships in women’s basketball.

Only Stanford (three) and USC (two) have won it all. In the final year of the traditional Pac-12, it would be only right for a Pac-12 school to run the tournament table in March and reclaim the National Championship. There are six programs ranked in the Top 25 and six more vying for a chance to ascend. All 12 chasing history in the traditional Pac-12’s final year.

No. 3 Colorado (4-0)

How could a list like this not start with Colorado? A Sweet 16 team from last season, the Buffaloes walked into T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and gave LSU head coach Kim Mulkey, sensation Angel Reese and the reigning National Champion and then-No. 1 Tigers a startling 92-78 defeat.

The Buffs provided a great deal of optimism for the upcoming year. Knocking off the defending National Champions is a surefire way to establish yourself as a contender.

The Bufs have not taken their foot off the gas, scoring no less than 82 points and being Oklahoma State and SMU’s lone losses.

Their next big test is a top-ten matchup with No. 10 NC State, Sunday in the Virgin Islands.

No. 2 UCLA (4-0)

The Bruins are brewing something in Los Angeles and it has the makings of a revenge run after they fell just short of the Pac-12 Championship, falling to WSU and losing in the Sweet 16 to South Carolina 59-43. The Bruins are an experienced squad and that experience paid off in a nail biter as UCLA beat Princeton 77-74, Friday.

Lauren Betts, a Stanford transfer, has double-doubles in three out of the Bruins’ four games and leads the team with 19.5 points per game, joining Charisma Osborne (17.3) and Gabriela Jaquez (16.8) in forming an elite lineup.

The Bruins’ next big test is against the perineal basketball powerhouse No. 8 UConn Friday in the Cayman Islands.

No. 4 Stanford (5-0)

Stanford women’s basketball is a constant in the Pac-12 legacy of dominance, owning three National Championships and dominating the Pac-12 Tournament for most of the last two decades.

The Cardinal blew out Cal Poly by 56 points whereas Wazzu beat Cal Poly by just 17 points. In their most notable win so far, they beat the Duke Blue Devils 82-79. Cameron Brink and Kiki Iriafen combined for 56 points and 20 rebounds. The Cardinal are a class of their own, UCLA stepped up when they knocked them out of the Pac-12 Tournament, otherwise, we may have seen another Pac-12 Championship banner in Palo Alto rather than Pullman.

No. 8 USC (5-0)

The Trojans’ poster win came in their first game, as a then-No. 21 USC beat then-No. 7 Ohio State 83-74 in Las Vegas. 

Freshman JuJu Watkins scored 32 points in her collegiate debut and has not slowed down with an average of 25 points per game and a shooting slash of 51.4% from the field and 60% from beyond the arc.

No. 10 Utah (4-1)

The Utes are a dangerous force once again led by the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year Alissa Pili. The Utes lost their biggest matchup so far, falling to No. 14 Baylor 84-77 despite Pili shooting 81% from the floor and pacing the Utes with 22 points. 

No. 23 WSU (5-0)

WSU is undefeated at 5-0 for the first time in Ethridge’s tenure but it has not been all sunshine and rainbows. Before the season even started, fifth-year Johanna Teder announced she would not see the court in 2023 as she deals with a long-term injury. 

The Cougs have also left a lot of points on the floor, beating Cal Poly and Idaho State by just 17, after shooting 38% and 25% respectively from the floor. This came to bite them in their toughest game yet against Gonzaga, when they shot 37% and conceded a 10-point fourth-quarter lead. But, the Cougs pulled through in overtime, allowing just one Gonzaga basket from the field and making 4-of-6 in overtime. In a neutral site, WSU will need to bring the energy in their toughest game yet against Maryland Thursday.

Cal (5-0)

The Golden Bears have clawed their inter-state opponents in the early season, including beating Cal Poly by 14. They also walked into Auburn Arena in Alabama and beat the SEC’s Auburn Tigers 67-53. 

Head coach Charmin Smith and UC Berkley will host the  Basketball, Activism and Representation (B.A.R.) Invitational over the weekend in which each of the four programs are led by a Black women.

“There is a large discrepancy in representation,” Smith said in a NBC Sports article. “It seems like a great issue to address and have conversations about. This tournament, with all Black female head coaches, addresses representation.”

Washington (4-0)

The Huskies have taken care of business against their out-of-conference opponents, most notably dominating North Carolina Central 113-39. Two freshmen, Salvia Sellers and Ari Long, led the Huskies with 18 points apiece in that Nov. 9 74-point win.

Oregon State (4-0)

The Beavers are undefeated with their biggest win being their 63-56 win over Villanova. Raegan Beers seems to have picked up right where she left off with a team-leading 13.3 points per game.

Arizona (6-1)

The Wildcats have played more games than anyone else in the Conference thus far and have six wins and one loss to show for it. Their lone loss was a 56-47 defensive bashing by No. 23 Ole Miss in the Bahamas. The Wildcats have had trouble scoring as Kailyn Gilbert and Esmery Martinez, their co-leading scorers (12.1 points per game) were a combined 4-for-22 from the floor scoring 2 and 7 points respectively against the Rebels.

Arizona State (4-1)

The first time the Sun Devils failed to score more than 70 points was the first time they lost. ASU lost their Pac-12 / SWAC Legacy Series game to Grambling State 70-67 in Grambling, Louisiana.

ASU’s leading scorer, Jaddan Simmons (14.4 points per game) did her job scoring 18 points, including 10 points in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough as the Sun Devils shot 41% as a a team and 65% from the free-throw line.

The Sun Devils overcame a 17-point deficit on the road to tie the game, but Grambling State got the last laugh, plowing through the ASU defense for the go-ahead score.

Oregon (4-1)

All the Nike sneakers in the world could not save the Ducks from dropping the most embarrassing loss of the young Pac-12 season.

Oregon: 50 Santa Clara: 89.

The Vanguard’s monster 39-point victory seemed meant to be as it is the largest Santa Clara women’s basketball victory over a Pac-12 opponent ever, their first over Oregon since 2003 and head coach Bill Carr’s 300th career victory as a head coach. 

That said, the Ducks did themselves no favors, shooting a would-be mercy-rule-inducing 35% from the floor, 28% from 3-point range and taking just four free throws (of which they made 3-of-4 at the very least).

Oh well. They’re pouring all of their lucky sneaker money into their football team, right? Or another uniform?

Basketball all holiday weekend-long

Turkey Day and the weekend that follows brings even more basketball. WSU meets Maryland in Cancun today and ASU meets No. 12 Texas. On Friday, UCLA clashes with UConn and on Saturday, No. 4 Stanford meets No. 13 Florida State and No. 3 Colorado meets No. 10 NC State.

A lot of high-quality basketball to be thankful for this holiday.

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About the Contributors
SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports co-editor
Sam is a senior multimedia journalism major from Lacey, Washington and the sports editor for spring 2024. He was the sports editor for the 2022-23 school year and managing editor for the summer and fall 2023. He plays the trumpet in the Cougar Marching Band, loves sports and has worked at the Evergreen since fall 2021.
COLE QUINN, Evergreen Sports Photographer
Cole Quinn is a photographer and columnist for the Daily Evergreen. Cole primarily shoots sports for the Daily Evergreen and writes album reviews in his spare time. Cole is a junior broadcast production major and sports communication minor from Snoqualmie, Washington. Cole started working for the Evergreen in the fall of 2020 as a photographer. Cole was the Photo Editor during his sophomore year and Deputy Photo Editor for the fall 2022 semester.