Here’s the Northwest 11 weekly power ranking. The qualifying regional Division I schools are Washington, Washington State, Seattle U, Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, Portland, Portland State, Idaho and Boise State. Idaho State will not be included due to Pocatello’s more eastern location.
NORTHWEST 11 WEEK 7
(Rank/Last Week/ School/Record: Comment)
1. (1) Oregon State (23-10, 13-5 Pac-12): OSU underclassmen Sydney Wiese and Deven Hunter were red-faced from exhaustion and tears after losing 71-62 to fifth-seeded USC in the Pac-12 tournament championship game on Sunday. Wiese, a 6-foot freshmen PG, said it was a life lesson. “But we have to get back to work tomorrow and finish the season strong,” she said in the postgame interviews. Hunter was solid in the game, finishing with her third double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds. But she had five of OSU’s 13 turnovers, the Beavers unable to handle the Trojan’s aggressive defense. OSU allowed 13 points off turnovers and was outscored 23-12 in second-chance shot opportunities.
Overall, Wiese averaged 19.3 points and 3.3 assists in the tournament in being named by media to the six-member all-tournament team. Teammate Ruth Hamblin, a 6-foot-6 center, was also named, setting the Pac-12 tournament record for total blocks (18). Her six blocks against USC was the most in a championship game.
Good thing the Beavers have a week to shake off the loss. ESPN’s latest prediction for the NCAA tournament was released Monday and OSU is slated as a No. 8 seed playing in a bracket with projected No. 1 seed Tennessee. The author of the bracket, Charlie Creme, has only miscalculated twice in the past two years, so with USC winning the Pac-12 championship for the automatic bid, five conference teams are expected to advance. Stanford, Cal, USC, Oregon State and ASU are the lucky group, the most from the conference since 2006.
On the ESPN broadcast of OSU’s game Sunday, analysts Kara Lawson and Rebecca Lobo had fun with Wiese’s headband placement. “We’ve gotta help her with that,” Lawson quipped. Wiese hasn’t altered its placement since fourth-grade. “When I was in elementary school I had bangs and I was growing them out. They (hair) couldn’t get back to my ponytail, so my Dad was like, ‘Why don’t you start wearing a head band?’ Ever since then I’ve just kept it.” Uh, father knows best?
2. (2) Gonzaga (28-4, 16-2 WCC): The No. 18 Zags play BYU for the WCC tournament championship on Tuesday. The game airs at 1pm on ESPNU. GU defeated Saint Mary’s college 68-60 on Monday to advance. A title would be the Zags’ fifth in its past six years.
3. (6) Washington State (17-16, 9-9 Pac-12): Sophomore G Lia Galdeira was voted to the Pac-12’s all-tournament team. She injured her left hand in the loss to Oregon State on Saturday. A spokesman for the team said she’s fine. The Cougs upset No. 2 seed Cal on Friday to advance to its second conference tournament semifinal in the past three seasons. The No. 24 Bears are the fourth ranked opponent the Cougs have defeated this season. G Tia Presley had an incredible first showing at the tournament and should have been named to the all-tourney team. She averaged 22.6 points and 7.6 rebounds in the three games.
4. (3) Idaho (22-8, 15-1 WAC): I hope Creme is right on his placement of tournament teams this season. He has Idaho joining Gonzaga, Southern California, and Nebraska at Alaska Airlines Arena for the opening-round of the NCAA tournament next week. You can’t get more ties to the region, including that former UW assistant Shimmy Gray-Miller is now on Nebraska’s staff. Then there’s the talent. Reporters be like:
Oh, Idaho has to win the Western Athletic Conference’s automatic bid first. The top-seeded Vandals open the tournament on Wednesday against eighth-seeded Chicago State at noon PT from Las Vegas. Congrats to Australian G Stacey Barr for being named WAC Player of the year and Jon Newlee for Coach of the Year.
5. (5) Boise State (17-12, 12-6 Mountain West): BSU opens Mountain West conference tournament play at approximately 3:30pm PT against Wyoming (19-10, 10-8 MW). The teams split the regular-season contest.
6. (4) Washington (17-13, 10-8 Pac-12): Washington, which lost to Utah in the opening-round of the Pac-12 tournament on Thursday, returns to practice on Tuesday. The Huskies will likely accept an invitation to the Women’s NIT. It doesn’t select its teams until after the NCAA selection show on Monday.
7. (8) Eastern Washington (16-13, 12-8 Big Sky): G Lexie Nelson and G Hayley Hodgins were named to the All-Big Sky Conference team. Nelson was a first team pick for the second consecutive season while Hodgins is an honorable mention selection. EWU enters the conference tournament against fifth-seeded Idaho State on Thursday at 3:30pm PT.
8. (7) Seattle U (14-15, 9-7 WAC): The third-seeded Redhawks open WAC tournament play on Wednesday at 6pm PT against Kansas City. You can watch the games for a nominal fee. F Kacie Sowell was named the All-WAC team while G Sylvia Shephard was named to its second team and All-Defensive team. This is the second straight year Sowell and Shephard are honored.
9. (9) Oregon (15-15, 6-12 Pac-12): Heard something interesting. GU coach Kelly Graves’ wife is from Portland and he loves the area, making the open UO position very intriguing. Graves signed a 10-year contract extension in 2011. I’m guessing it’ll take a lot of money to snag Graves but think of the benefits with that Ducks roster. The Zags have plenty of coaching talent in-house to promote to keep its tradition going, too. April should be interesting.
10. (10) Portland (14-16, 7-11 WCC): UP lost 84-72 to Pacific in the opening rounds of the WCC tournament. WSU G KiKi Moore led Pacific with 28 points. Former UW F Marjorie Heard (Glacier Peak HS) recovered from her knee injury, transfer and she played 11 minutes in the win.
11. (11) Portland State (8-21, 6-14 Big Sky): G Emily Easom received an All-Big Sky Conference honorable mention nod.