Pac-12 WBB Rankings Week 6

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

By the end of this weekend, each Pac-12 women’s basketball team should have played 10 games. But due to COVID postponements, no one will have played more than eight as of the end of January.

Arizona State and California will be at a league-low of three after losing their Sunday game due to the Bears being in protocol. Both teams now have seven postponements.

Arizona, Colorado, and USC have played six games each through four weeks of the conference season.

Neither defending national champion Stanford nor Oregon has missed a Pac-12 game due to internal COVID issues, but both have dealt with three postponements because of opponents in protocol.

Four of Arizona’s league games have been postponed due to issues with opponents, but the Wildcats will have made up two of those as of Wednesday.

This week’s highlight is the only regular-season game between No. 2 Stanford and No. 8 Arizona and their first meeting since the 2021 NCAA championship game, a 54-53 Cardinal victory.

Here are the Hotline’s sixth women’s basketball power ratings …

NET rankings are through Monday. (The NCAA Evaluation Tool rankings are used by the selection committee to determine the seeds and at-large bids.)

1. Stanford (14-3/5-0)
Last week: 1
Results: beat Cal 97-74
Next up: vs. Arizona State (Friday)
NET ranking: No. 3 (change from last week: none)
Comment: Northwestern transfer Jordan Hamilton played 26 minutes with seven assists (one turnover) in Anna Wilson’s illness-related absence, showing Stanford has yet another card to play in defending its national title. Speaking of that, Sunday’s championship rematch vs. Arizona will be nationally televised on ESPN2.

2. Oregon (11-5/3-1)
Last week: 2
Results: beat Washington 68-61
Next up: vs. Utah (Wednesday)
NET ranking: No. 11 (change: +1)
Comment: With four straight wins, two of them over top-10 teams, the Ducks are back into the AP poll (No. 19) for the first time since Nov. 29. But they struggled to put away Washington and now face a three-game week, although all three are in Eugene.

3. Arizona (14-2/4-2)
Last week: 3
Results: beat Utah 76-64, beat Colorado 75-56
Next up: at UCLA (Wednesday)
NET ranking: No. 9 (change: +1)
Comment: The Wildcats righted the ship at home after losing two of their previous three, including to Oregon — hence the Ducks’ slim edge in our ratings. Arizona also experienced addition by subtraction this week, with a postponed game Friday against Cal (COVID protocol) that allows for extra time to prepare for Stanford.

4. Utah (10-5/1-2)
Last week: 5
Results: lost to Arizona 76-64, beat Arizona State 72-63
Next up: at Oregon (Wednesday)
NET ranking: No. 19 (change: none)
Comment: The Utes held their own for three quarters at Arizona, then built a 29-point second-quarter lead over ASU and had to hold on for the win. So, it’s something of a mixed bag for Utah, which also has a three-game week coming up (including two against rival Colorado). Guard Gianna Kneepkens is the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week for the third time.

5. UCLA (9-4/4-1)
Last week: 7
Results: beat USC 66-43 and 68-58
Next up: vs. Arizona (Wednesday)
NET ranking: No. 41 (change: +9)
Comment: There was a brief time late Sunday when UCLA was down to five available players while nursing a six-point lead. But Charisma Osborne returned from an injury to help the Bruins close out a fourth straight win and clinch Pac-12 Player of the Week honors. Depth could catch up to UCLA this week against Arizona and the Oregon schools.

6. Colorado (13-4/2-4)
Last week: 4
Results: lost to Arizona State 57-52 (OT) and Arizona 75-56
Next up: at Utah (Friday)
NET ranking: No. 34 (change: -4)
Comment: This might be generous to the Buffs after four consecutive losses, but three were on the road, two were in overtime, and two were against top-10 teams. Colorado did fall out of the AP top 25 for the second time this season (receiving no votes) and faces a fourth straight road game Friday.

7. Oregon State (9-4/2-1)
Last week: 6
Results: beat Washington 47-41
Next up: at Washington State (Wednesday)
NET ranking: No. 51 (change: +4)
Comment: Coming off a Jan. 17 overtime win over Colorado, the Beavers held off Washington in their only weekend game. They’re making up the WSU postponement on Wednesday before hosting the L.A. schools in what will be a telling three-game week.

8. Arizona State (9-6/1-1)
Last week: 9
Results: beat Colorado 57-52 (OT), lost to Utah 72-63
Next up: at Stanford (Friday)
NET ranking: No. 45 (change: -3)
Comment: By stringing together three straight 3-pointers in the third quarter, ASU changed momentum in its first game since Dec. 30 (and while playing without leading scorer Jade Loville). The Sun Devils knocked off then-No. 22 Colorado, assuring no worse than a split in their return to the court. Charli Turner Thorne said her team “is not built” for three-game weeks because of minutes restrictions for Jayde Van Hyfte and Maggie Besselink.

9. Washington State (10-6/2-3)
Last week: 10
Results: DNP (COVID)
Next up: Oregon State (Wednesday)
NET ranking: No. 65 (change: +6)
Comment: It’s possible that a week off for COVID protocol actually could help the Cougars, who are coming off losses in five of their last seven games going back to Dec. 18. They average just 61.4 points and are shooting 38.4 percent, both areas that need improvement. After a makeup game Wednesday, this is rivalry week for the Washington schools.

10. USC (9-7/2-4)
Last week: 8
Results: lost to UCLA 66-43 and 68-58
Next up: at Oregon State (Friday)
NET ranking: No. 76 (change: -15)
Comment: After splits on consecutive weekends, the Trojans encountered a setback with two rivalry losses to a team as badly undermanned as UCLA. “If you’re expecting this film session to feel good, you are in the wrong locker room,” Trojans coach Lindsay Gottlieb told her team between games. USC was better at home in the rematch but couldn’t overcome a 12-3 Bruins run to close the third quarter.

11. Washington (5-7/0-4)
Last week: 11
Results: lost to Oregon 68-61 and Oregon State 47-41
Next up: at Washington State (Friday)
NET ranking: 103 (change: -5)
Comment: If there’s such a thing as a moral victory, the Huskies experienced it against the Oregon schools. But the 20-point drop in offensive production from one game to the next is a concern — even more so given that the Huskies are No. 341 nationally in turnover margin.

12. California (9-5/0-3)
Last week: 12
Results: lost to Stanford 97-74
Next up: vs. Arizona State (Sunday)
NET ranking: No. 106 (change: +12)
Comment: Freshman Jayda Curry wears No. 30 and scored 30 against Stanford, keeping the Bears even at 42 in the first half before the blowout began. Then COVID hit the Bears again, forcing three more postponements for a total of seven.

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