Arizona State and Oregon State lead Pac-12
This could just be Arizona State’s year.
The Sun Devils ended a 30-year drought at Stanford, beating the Cardinal on The Farm for the first time since 1984.
”`Bout time,” Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne said as she sat down at the postgame news conference. ”It feels really, really good. Anytime in your life when there’s something that eludes you … I’m just excited that it’s checked off the list. But mostly, I’m just happy for this team.”
That victory continued the best start in school history and moved Turner Thorne’s team to 6-0 in the Pac-12 and kept them in a tie with Oregon State for first in the conference. The two teams will play on Sunday in Tempe, Arizona.
It’s a rare time over the past decade that Stanford isn’t atop the conference standings.
”They have been for 14 years, right? At least, and then before that, maybe that was one year, and before that, they were there for 10 others. Yeah, so that’s a unique thing. Nobody’s seen that,” Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said after his team beat Washington.
”Show me the standings. I haven’t even seen it still,” he said, smiling. ”Anybody can beat anybody, that’s the beauty of it. So, it’s a fun time for our conference.”
While the Cardinal lost for the first time in the conference on Monday night ending a 16-game overall winning streak against Arizona State, other teams have competed with Stanford this season. Washington State lost in overtime and Washington lost a tight one last weekend.
”There are no nights off, and that’s what makes it, in my opinion, the best conference in the country, top to bottom,” Rueck said.
While the West Coast is full of great teams, the top of The Associated Press Top 25 women’s basketball poll keeps its East Coast flavor with South Carolina leading the way for the ninth straight week. The Gamecocks beat Florida 77-42 Monday night.
South Carolina was followed by UConn, Baylor, Louisville and Tennessee. Notre Dame, which beat the Lady Vols 88-77 on Monday night, is sixth. Maryland, Texas, Oregon State and Texas A&M round out the first 10 teams.
The Lady Bears beat the Longhorns 75-58 on Monday night. Texas may also have lost star forward Nneka Enemkpali to a left knee injury. The team’s top scorer and rebounder suffered the injury while grabbing an offensive rebound in the first half. The 6-foot-1 senior was in obvious pain, clutching her knee and crying out after falling awkwardly to the floor with 5:44 left in the first half.
Texas coach Karen Aston said the extent of the injury wasn’t known, ”it’s a concern of ours right now. … She’s going to be out for a little bit. I mean it was significant looking enough that I doubt she will be back tomorrow or the next day.”
Some notes from this week’s poll:
THEY’RE BACK: One week after falling out, Western Kentucky returned as No. 24. Last week, the Lady Toppers became the fifth team since 2000 to drop out of the rankings without losing a game, according to STATS. It was no matter, as they beat Florida Atlantic 80-43 and Florida International 81-42 this past week. The Lady Toppers have won 13 straight since falling to Louisville on Nov. 25.
UNBEATENS: South Carolina and Princeton are the lone unbeatens in women’s basketball. The Tigers are off until Jan. 30 for exams. On the other end of the spectrum, UC Santa Barbara and Illinois State are the two winless programs.
LOADED CONFERENCE: The ACC has six teams in the Top 25, led by Louisville. The conference also has No. 6 Notre Dame, No. 12 North Carolina, No. 15 Duke, No. 17 Florida State and 23rd-ranked Syracuse.
UPCOMING MATCHUPS: Not all the great games this week were on Monday. Louisville visits Florida State in a key ACC matchup on Thursday. Georgia will see if it’s a contender in the SEC race this week with games against Texas A&M on Thursday and Tennessee on Sunday.
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