Ladies’s school basketball: Why the Pac-12 continues to be the most effective convention

With No. 2 Stanford poised to take excessive spot within the 2020-21 girls’s school basketball rankings Monday, No. 7 Arizona‘s two thrilling victories this weekend and No. 10 Oregon off to a 4-0 begin, the Pac-12 has picked up the place it left off final season. Sure, it is early, however it may well declare top-league standing for now, at the least primarily based on how its finest squads are doing. 4 Pac-12 groups are ranked within the high 10 — the opposite is No. 9 UCLA — and we have additionally seen good performances from Arizona State and USC.

Unbeaten Arizona (3-0) held off UCLA 68-65 on Friday behind senior ahead Trinity Baptiste’s 18 factors and 11 rebounds. The graduate switch from Virginia Tech has been a lift for the Wildcats’ inside together with her skilled, bodily play.

Then Sunday, Arizona edged USC 78-77, with Aari McDonald getting 30 factors. The senior guard is projected to be the No. 2 choose in our first 2021 WNBA mock draft.

“Usually, you play all these video games a month from now,” Arizona coach Adia Barnes stated of getting the depth of Pac-12 contests in early December. “You are not as sharp, with much less cohesiveness. We’ve got extra depth, although, and that basically helps.”

Subsequent up for the Wildcats is a rivalry recreation with visiting Arizona State on Thursday. The 4-1 Solar Devils’ solely loss was 63-59 to UCLA on Sunday.

Oregon’s robust starting means there’s much less discuss concerning the lack of final yr’s beloved seniors and extra consideration on how good this 2020-21 group could be. Even with out injured heart Sedona Prince (ankle), Oregon routed Utah 85-43 on Sunday. The Geese bought 17 factors every from freshman Te-Hina Paopao and senior Erin Boley, who’s main Oregon in scoring (16.8 PPG).

Nyara Sabally, youthful sister of former Duck Satou Sabally, had her first profession double-double with 20 factors (going 9-of-9 from the sphere) and 10 rebounds in opposition to Colorado on Friday. The Geese even have a recreation in opposition to their chief rival arising, as they make the quick journey to face No. 17 Oregon State (3-0) on Sunday.

Stanford has needed to relocate to Las Vegas due to COVID-19 restrictions on practising and taking part in in Santa Clara County. With all the pieces that is happening, profession data is the very last thing that Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer is considering. However she is now one shy of tying the late Pat Summitt of Tennessee at 1,098 for many Division I girls’s victories.

Nonetheless, proper now we do not know the subsequent alternative for Stanford to play. The Cardinal had been to fulfill Washington State on Tuesday in Las Vegas, however that recreation needed to be postponed as a result of the Cougars haven’t got sufficient scholarship gamers obtainable resulting from COVID-19 protocol.

“The pandemic, the state of affairs we’re in, it actually makes you respect every recreation,” VanDerveer stated. “Every recreation is so valuable, and we’re so excited to be taking part in. We’re right here in Vegas, we do not know what our schedule is. We’re working the telephones, attempting to get video games.”

As for probably ascending to No. 1, VanDerveer stated, “Rankings are essential in March. Let’s hope we’re taking part in in March.”

Group of the Week: South Dakota State Jackrabbits

On Sunday, South Dakota State bought its second victory this season over a ranked crew because the Jackrabbits defeated No. 18 Gonzaga 75-72 in time beyond regulation. They opened the season on Nov. 28 with a 76-69 victory over then-No. 15 Iowa State.

South Dakota State, which was 23-10 final season, would possibly make it into the Related Press High 25 ballot this week. Brookings, South Dakota, has a well-earned fame as a troublesome place for guests, and all three of the Jackrabbits’ victories this season have come at residence. Junior ahead Myah Selland is averaging 18.0 factors for the Jackrabbits, who’re taking pictures 40.9% (27-of-66) from 3-point vary.

We look ahead to their subsequent 4 video games specifically: in opposition to the Large 12’s Kansas State on Thursday, after which three in a row in opposition to robust Missouri Valley groups Northern Iowa (Saturday), Drake (Dec. 15) and No. 21 Missouri State (Dec. 19). All however the Drake recreation will probably be on the highway.

Participant of the Week: Haley Jones, Stanford Cardinal

Stanford’s Haley Jones was the highest recruit in final yr’s freshman class and had a robust begin for the Cardinal, beginning 13 of 18 video games and averaging 11.4 factors and 4.2 rebounds. However then she was sidelined by a knee damage, and the Cardinal undoubtedly missed her.

Now she’s again, and has seemed nice thus far, getting 25 and 29 factors, respectively, within the Cardinal’s wins this weekend in opposition to UNLV and Washington. Her 14-of-15 taking pictures from the sphere in opposition to the Huskies on Sunday was the most effective proportion from a Stanford participant (with at the least 10 makes an attempt) since 1981, and her scoring and rebounding (13) totals had been profession bests.

“With my season being minimize quick final yr, I’ve simply been actually excited to get again on the market,” Jones stated. “I feel I am popping out with a extra of an aggressive mentality.”

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Arkansas’ Chelsea Dungee makes simple work of her Baylor defender and hits a layup whereas being fouled.

Coach of the Week: Mike Neighbors, Arkansas Razorbacks

No. 16 Arkansas’ 83-78 win over No. 4 Baylor on Sunday was the Razorbacks’ first victory over a top-five crew since 2003, when Texas A&M’s Gary Blair was nonetheless coach at Arkansas. After Blair, Susie Gardner, Tom Collen and Jimmy Dykes ran the Razorbacks program. However Mike Neighbors, an Arkansas native who got here again to Fayetteville in 2017, has been the correct coach on the proper time for the Razorbacks, who are actually 5-1.

Let’s additionally give a shout-out to South Florida’s Jose Fernandez. Neighbors stated the Bulls’ 67-62 loss to Baylor on Tuesday gave him a number of concepts on the way to go in opposition to the Woman Bears. And after pushing Baylor, the Bulls bought a 67-63 upset in opposition to No. 6 Mississippi State on Saturday.

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1:04

South Florida arms No. 6 Mississippi State its first lack of the season, utilizing stout protection in time beyond regulation to give you a 67-63 upset victory.

Plus, kudos to Kentucky assistant Niya Butts, who stepped in for an sick Kyra Elzy on Sunday and led the No. 11 Wildcats previous No. 13 Indiana.

Win of the Week: No. 8 NC State Wolfpack upset No. 1 South Carolina

NC State, down an injured starter, going into South Carolina and ending the No. 1 Gamecocks’ 29-game successful streak Thursday was spectacular, even when the 54-46 victory was an unpleasant recreation. The No. 8 Wolfpack had no subsequent letdown, as six gamers scored in double figures in a 98-46 victory Sunday in opposition to Coastal Carolina. NC State coach Wes Moore went into Thursday’s recreation sad with the Wolfpack’s protection, however NC State held two consecutive opponents to 46 factors. Can Elon crack the 50-point barrier vs. NC State on Tuesday?

The Gamecocks’ loss might need been precisely what coach Daybreak Staley wanted to totally get the eye of a squad nonetheless adjusting to not having final yr’s senior leaders. South Carolina bounced again with an 83-65 victory at No. 23 Iowa State on Sunday. The stunning stat that stood out most: South Carolina beat the Cyclones at their very own recreation, getting 13 3-pointers to Iowa State’s 5. That was as many treys because the Gamecocks had made of their earlier 4 video games mixed.

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