It’s time for the Arizona state teams to travel far north, where the squads awaiting them in Oregon will surely want revenge.
The Pac-12 conference slate again takes center stage this weekend with five games played between ranked squads. Six teams have been ranked in the Associated Press poll for four consecutive weeks and four of those teams are currently in the top 10.
Here’s what to watch for Friday night and where to watch it. The full schedule can be found here. On Sunday, we’ll have more from two big SEC games as well as Monday’s circled match-up between No. 1 South Carolina and No. 4 UConn.
No. 3 Oregon (20-2, 9-1) vs. No. 12 Arizona (18-3, 7-3), No. 19 Arizona State (16-6, 6-4)
Friday vs. Arizona at 9 p.m. ET | Sunday vs. ASU at 5 p.m. ET | Pac-12 Networks
Oregon seems to be a squad that plays to the opponent, but wow, do they turn it on when the stakes are high. The Ducks looked unbeatable in a dominant victory over Connecticut last week in Storrs and will have to be on alert again this weekend with rematches against Arizona State and Arizona.
The Ducks lost their only game of conference play to the Sun Devils last month, 72-66, in Tempe. They shot 49.1 percent from the floor, but were 5 of 18 from 3-point range. ASU’s defense was too much and the Sun Devils offense got enough from a team effort to scrape by.
The biggest difference between that Jan. 10 weekend and this one a month later is that Minyon Moore has found her role in the offense for the Ducks. She has attacked the basket more, taken and made more shots, and changed opponents’ defensive game plans. The previous decision to double-team her teammates but leave Moore wide-open won’t work anymore.
First, though, Arizona comes to Eugene and the Ducks will have to keep an eye on Aari McDonald. She earned national player of the week honors last week and is averaging a conference-best 20.8 points and 2.7 steals per game.
"You guard her with five players; you have to," Oregon coach Kelly Graves said, via goducks.com. "She's sees a little opening, boom, she's through it and it's over. You're done."
The Wildcats nearly took out Oregon the last time out, falling 71-64. They are the only team in a very talented conference to have two players named Pac-12 player of the week multiple times. McDonald and Cate Reese have two apiece.
“I think for us there is nothing to lose,” Arizona coach Adia Barnes said, via AZ Desert Swarm. “No one expects us to go to Oregon and win. No one expects us to go to Oregon State and win on their home court.”
No. 9 Oregon State (18-4, 6-4) vs. No. 19 Arizona State, No. 12 Arizona
Friday vs. ASU at 11 p.m. ET | Sunday vs. Arizona at 3 p.m. ET | Pac-12 Networks
Oregon State slid by Arizona, 63-61, in the last meeting and is also looking for revenge with Arizona State, which completed the state sweep in January. Combined with a loss to Stanford and back-to-back losses against Oregon, it was four losses in five games for the Beavers.
Since then they’ve won two in a row, shooting 56.4 percent from 3-point range and keeping Colorado and Utah to a combined 29.4 percent shooting last weekend. Now comes the tough part again with four ranked teams in the next five games. They’ll need to keep that sharp-shooting up with the two teams coming to town.
A key number for Oregon State is 60. They’ve lost all three of the games in which they’ve scored less than that. Arizona State allows on average 56.9 points per game (and scores 66.4) while Arizona allows 52.1, sixth-best in the nation (and scores 70.6).
Mikayla Pivec (14.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG) led the Beavers in scoring and Taylor Jones (12.9 PPG, 7.2 RPG) on the boards the last round. Destiny Slocum (14.5 PPG) is the second-leading scorer.
No. 10 UCLA (19-2, 8-2) at No. 6 Stanford (20-2, 9-1)
Friday at 11 p.m. ET on Pac-12 Networks
UCLA and Stanford will play their one and only regular season meeting on Friday night. The Bruins will face an opponent ranked higher than themselves for the first time, with Oregon and Oregon State waiting next weekend.
The Cardinal are in the top 10 percent of the nation in scoring (75.4 PPG), points per 100 possession (106.3), field goal percentage (45.4 percent), points per scoring attempt (1.08) and rebounding rate (55.1 percent), via Her Hoop Stats. The Bruins are comparable in all but field goal percentage (40.1 percent) and points per scoring attempt (0.96).
“We’re not as good a shooting team as Stanford,” UCLA coach Cori Close said, via the Daily Bruin. “So we’ve got to get more shots on goal and that’s the reality. That can happen by getting second shot opportunities by rebounding or it can happen by giving them empty possessions and us turning them over.”
UCLA ranks seventh in offensive rebounds at 16.5 per game and will need those extra looks. Lexie Hull and point guard Kiana Williams average double digits for Stanford as did Haley Jones until she suffered a knee injury in mid-January. Coach Tara VanDerveer has said she hopes the star freshman can return this season, but hasn’t said much else.
Maya Dodson and DiJonai Carrington have also missed extensive time due to injury.
Michaela Onyenwere continues to lead the Bruins with 19.6 points per game on 50 percent shooting and 8.0 rebounds per game.
UCLA continues its road trip with Cal on Sunday while Stanford hosts USC.
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