Pac-12 Tournament: What you need to know from Day 1
How Oregon State, USC, Washington State and Washington moved on
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The Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament kicked off in Las Vegas on Wednesday. It was an action-packed day, featuring eight teams facing off in four games.
Stanford, who earned the top seed and secured a first-round bye for the 19th season in a row, is currently ranked No. 4 in the latest AP Top-25 poll. The next three seeds, Arizona, UCLA and Oregon respectively, also had the day off but will take the court today in the second round of the tournament.
Four Pac-12 teams were also announced during the NCAA’s Top 16 reveal Monday, with Stanford at No. 2 and a top overall seed, followed by Arizona at No. 7 (2), UCLA at No. 10 (3) and Oregon at No. 15 (4).
Let’s get to Wednesday’s action.
Game 1: No. 5 Oregon State vs No. 12 California
Oregon State is on a tear, notching its seventh win in its last eight games yesterday afternoon after beating California 71-63. The first quarter was a pretty close battle, but OSU ended it with a 7-0 run and went into the second up 17-13.
The Beavers went on to score the first seven points of the second quarter and pushing their advantage to double figures. At the half, Oregon State led 39-27.
Cal wasn’t going down without a fight, though. The Golden Bears battled back in the third to cut the lead to just three points. But OSU soon regained control of the game, going on a 13-2 run and eventually closing out the quarter with a 9-point lead.
Cal pushed back in the final quarter, but it wasn’t enough. The Beavers won it by eight.
“Really pleased with the win today,” said OSU head coach Scott Rueck. “Impressed with Cal, and what Charmin and her staff have done with a lot of young people - we can certainly relate. At one point I looked out and we had six freshmen on the floor between the two teams, and two of them are high schoolers. Pretty amazing.”
By the numbers: As a team, the Beavers shot 51 percent from the floor, while holding Cal to 40 percent shooting. Early-entry guard Talia von Oelhoffen set a career-high with 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the floor. It’s von Oelhoffen’s seventh time reaching double figures in her nine games in the orange and black. She tacked on four assists, just for good measure. Forward Taylor Jones locked down her sixth double-double of the season, finishing with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Guard Aleah Goodman went for 12 points and five assists, while fellow guard Sasha Goforth also had a double-digit effort with 11 points.
What’s up next: The Beavers advance to the quarterfinals and will face Oregon for the second time in three games this morning at 11 a.m. PT.
Game 2: No. 8 USC vs No. 9 Arizona State
The Trojans led the entire game against the Sun Devils as they powered their way to a 71-65 victory.
USC started things off with a 9-0 run in the first quarter, swiftly followed by a 10-0 run in the second. At one point, the Trojans boasted a 28-7 lead before the first half wrapped up at 39-22.
The Sun Devils started to chip away at that lead in the second half, but ultimately couldn’t dig themselves out of the hole. USC put together another 7-0 run to bolster an 18-point lead with less than six minutes left in the game. The Trojans came out on top, 71-65, and they’ll have to stay hot when they face Stanford this afternoon.
By the numbers: USC shot a season-best 65.2 percent, which also happened to be the third-highest output in program history. This includes a red-hot 70 percent from the floor in the first half, while also holding ASU to just 29 percent. Four Trojans had double-figure efforts in the win, Jordyn Jenkins (16 points), Endyia Rogers (15 points, 11 assists), Jordan Sanders (14 points) and Alissa Pili (12 points). On the other side, ASU’s Taya Hanson led her team with 15 points, including five three’s made, and Maggie Besselink put up a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds), but it wasn’t enough to hold off the Trojans.
What’s up next: The Trojans are heading to the quarterfinals to face No. 1 seed Stanford today at 2 p.m. PT.
Game 3: No. 7 Washington State vs No. 10 Utah
Not one, not two, but three Cougars reached double-digit scoring in Wednesday’s 57-48 victory against the Utes. It’s their first win at the Pac-12 Tournament under head coach Kamie Ethridge, and their first tourney win since the 2016-17 season.
Despite trailing 17-16 after the first quarter, WSU rallied and scored the first 11 points of the second to take a 10-point lead with just under four minutes left in the half. The Utes battled back, closing the second with a 6-0 run putting the score at 27-23, Cougars at the half.
WSU came out the gate hot to start the second half and pushed their lead to 14 points. Utah fired back with its own 16-7 run and pulled within three points with about six minutes left in the game.
But Washington State held and responded with a 9-0 run and ended up limiting Utah to just one field goal over the last five minutes of play to secure the 57-48 dub.
By the numbers: WSU kept the defensive pressure on Utah, limiting them to just 23.3 percent from the field and only 5-of-22 (22.7 percent) from beyond the arc. On the other side, the Cougars shot 33.3 percent from the field and put up 22 points inside the paint. Freshman guard Charlisse Leger-Walker dropped 15 points for the night, while center Bella Murekatete posted her second double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds in 24 minutes on the hardwood. Guard Krystal Leger-Walker was the third Cougar to post double-figures, with 12 points.
Watch out for: Charlisse Leger-Walker is Washington State’s secret sauce. The Cougs weren’t expected to do anything particularly phenomenal this season, but Leger-Walker has made her presence known throughout the conference. This week she was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, the first Washington State women’s basketball player to earn the honor in 23 years.
What’s up next: The Cougars will face No. 2 seed Arizona in a quarterfinal game this evening at 5 p.m. PT.
Game 4: No. 6 Colorado vs No. 11 Washington
The Huskies thrive in the 11th seed. Last time they were in this spot (2019), they won twice to advance all the way to the semifinals. And you know what they say about history repeating itself.
Even with Washington missing a key part of the pack — guard Missy Peterson is sidelined recovering from ACL surgery - the team managed to dig deep and pull off an upset over the Colorado Buffaloes and All-Pac-12 standout Mya Hollingshed.
“Without having Missy here, I think we are playing for her, just this whole season we’ve been playing for her,” junior forward Haley Van Dyke said. “Playing for her today was a big thing for us. She obviously couldn’t be on the court with us. She was a big reason why we were successful two years ago. I think that motivation was really big for us.”
By the numbers: Washington shot 54.3 percent for the game, including 55 percent from beyond the arc. Guard Tameiya Sadler posted 18 points alongside a career-high eight assists and three steals. Center Quay Miller and guard Alexis Griggsby both scored 11 points, with Griggsby shooting a perfect 4-of-4 from the field and Miller snatching five of UW’s 13 steals for the night.
What’s up next: The Huskies will tip-off against No. 3 seed UCLA in a quarterfinal game tonight at 8 p.m. PT.
Pac-12 Tournament Quarterfinals Schedule (Thursday, March 4)
No. 4 Oregon vs Oregon State, 11 a.m.
No. 1 Stanford vs USC, 2 p.m.
No. 2 Arizona vs Washington State, 5 p.m.
No. 3 UCLA vs Washington, 8 p.m.
All times listed are Pacific Standard Time. All games are available on the Pac-12 Network and the Pac-12 Now App.