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Week 15 in Womens Basketball

Doss: Pac-12, Coaches, Riled by OSU's Rueck 

Week 15 — On the Court; In the Rankings; Players of Week; Up Next

Oregon State's Destiny Slocum goes up for a shot against Arizona State. | Oregon State Athletics


By Kim Doss, SportsPac12


T
here were plenty of shakeups on the court over the weekend, but the biggest drama may have been between Oregon State coach Scott Rueck and the two Arizona schools.  The Beavers split the games with the southern schools, but their coach’s comments over the weekend did not sit well with either Arizona State’s Charli Turner Thorne or Arizona’s Adia Barnes. 

On the Court and in the Media Room


Friday night kicked off with the contest between the Sun Devils and the Beavers in Corvallis. ASU had won the previous four games and were threatening to sweep OSU for the second straight season. A tightly-contested game ended in a bit of confusion. The Beavers tied the game up with less than a second to go. The Devils, thinking the game was over, inbounded the ball and allowed it to roll out of bounds. 

The problem? The game wasn’t over.

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The officials went to the monitor after the turnover and put time back on the clock. It appeared that they reviewed from the point of OSU’s last bucket rather than the ensuing turnover, but that was not completely clear. With just .04 seconds to play, a brilliant shot by Mikayla Pivec gave the Beavers the 64-62 victory.

Prior to the game, the Beavers’ coach had complained about ASU’s physicality, stating that they “played football” and that his team had to be prepared to play physical to go against them.

Two days later, his team lost 65-58 in overtime to Arizona becoming the first Top 10 team the Wildcats had ever defeated on the road. Again, he complained about the physical nature of the game.


Arizona's Dominique McBride scored 19 against OSU. | Arizona Athletics

“We’re supposed to prepare a team to play based off rules and videos that everybody is supposed to play by,” Rueck told The Oregonian. “That’s what I expect. If that doesn’t happen, what are we doing?”

Turner Thorne told Arizona Republic reporter Jeff Metcalfe that the comments about her team were “disrespectful” and added that ASU had been in touch with Oregon State’s administration over Rueck’s statements.

Barnes didn’t discount the idea that the game between the Wildcats and the Beavers was physical,  but she was surprised by Rueck’s comments.

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“I thought they were very physical,” the Arizona head coach said of the Beavers. “I thought our players got elbowed on the block and just a lot of physical plays. I was told we were physical, but I thought they were a lot more physical than we were.”

Rueck was reprimanded by the Pac-12 Conference on Friday morning for his comments about the officiating.

As of now, the three teams are battling it out for the final first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament. Arizona is in the driver’s seat, currently sitting fourth in the Conference standings. The Wildcats have an easier remaining schedule than the Beavers, and hold the tiebreaker over the Sun Devils.


In the Rankings

In addition to Arizona upsetting Oregon State, UCLA went into Maples Pavilion and pulled off an upset of the Cardinal. The losses were part of a rash of upsets around college basketball that caused some shuffling of the rankings.
   
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In the Associated Press poll, the Oregon Ducks remained at No. 3. UCLA’s big win in Palo Alto allowed them to jump from tenth to seventh, making them the second-highest ranked team in the league. Stanford fell from No. 6 to No. 8, becoming the Pac-12’s final member of the Top 10. 

The combination of a close win over ASU and a loss to Arizona caused Oregon State to tumble out of the Top 10. They landed just outside at No. 11. Arizona followed, sticking at No. 12 due to a combination of a horrible loss to Oregon and a historic win over Oregon State.

Getting swept on the Oregon road trip did some damage to the Sun Devils, but they remained in the Top 25 with room to spare. ASU fell from No. 19 to No. 22.  

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The USA Today/WBCA pollsters agree that Oregon is the No. 3 team in the country. They also agree that Oregon State and Arizona are No. 11 and No. 12, respectively.

The coaches differ from the media by placing Stanford ahead of UCLA despite the 10-point loss at home. The Cardinal are at No. 7 and the Bruins sit just behind at No. 8.  ASU is just hanging on to a spot in the coaches poll. The Sun Devils fell three spots in both major polls, landing them at 

Players of the Week

The second-biggest the upset of the week resulted in the crowning of the Pac-12 Player of the Week. UCLA’s Michaela Onyenwere led UCLA to their victory over then-No. 6 Stanford. It was the only meeting of the two this season, giving the winner the tiebreak advantage. With their Bay Area sweep, the Bruins are tied with the Cardinal at 10-2 in league play. That puts them in line to be the No. 2 seed and avoid Oregon in the Pac-12 Tournament until the final game.

Onyenwere
Onyenwere rose to the big occasion with a huge double-double. Her 29 points and 10 rebounds led the team in both categories. She went 3-for-5 from beyond the arc and shot 62.5 percent overall. 

Two days later, Onyenwere was crucial in keeping the Bruins from being upset by last-placed California. Her 21 points against the Golden Bears paced UCLA and were crucial in a game that they barely escaped with the 74-70 victory.

Maxwell
The only two players who have started every game for the Utah Utes this season are both freshmen. They lead the team in scoring and one of them leads them in rebounding. One of them finally broke through to win Pac-12 Freshman of the Week this time around. 

Brynna Maxwell won the honor for her performance against Washington and Washington State. The Utes’ leading scorer averaged 19 points per game over the weekend including leading the team with 22 against the Cougars.

—Up Next—





No. 11 Oregon State at No. 7 UCLA Bruins

When: Sunday, Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. PT/7 p.m. MT

TV: ESPN2

The Oregon schools will travel to Los Angeles this weekend for two games featuring Top 15 matchups. The biggest will be on Sunday when the Beavers face the Bruins. 

Oregon State is trying to get back into the top four of the league standings so they get a first round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament. They are also trying to maintain a Top 16 seed for the NCAA Tournament. A win over UCLA would help in both regards.


Kim Doss (@KimDoss71) covers Pac-12 Women's Basketball and Softball for SportsPac12.com. 

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