Share story

1. Stanford (11-1)

Coach: Tara VanDerveer (28th year), 753-153.

Top scorer: F Chiney Ogwumike (25.8).

Resume: Convincing win against then-No. 3 Tennessee overshadows 76-57 loss to No. 1 UConn.

This week, save 90% on digital access.

Telling stat: Ogwumike has made 131 FGs, next Cardinal player has made 52.

Revelation: Freshman G Lili Thompson scored season-high 14 points against Vols.

Shortfall: Roster features eight underclassmen.

Bottom line: Despite being a young team, Stanford remains the conference’s best because of Ogwumike’s talent.

2. Colorado (10-1)

Coach: Linda Lappe (4th year), 74-38.

Top scorer: F Arielle Roberson (13.9).

Resume: Only blemish in a moderate nonconference schedule is a seven-point loss at Louisville.

Telling stat: The Buffs have a plus-17.9 scoring margin.

Revelation: Four players average 10 points or more.

Shortfall: Colorado has rarely been tested this season.

Bottom line: The Buffs have the experience and athleticism to return to the NCAA tournament.

3. California (8-3)

Coach: Lindsay Gottlieb (3rd year), 65-17.

Top scorer: F Reshanda Gray (15.5).

Resume: Can excuse the losses to No. 1 UConn and then-No. 2 Duke, but loss at George Washington hurts.

Telling stat: Shoots a league-worst 37.2 percent from the field.

Revelation: All-Pac-12 F Gennifer Brandon nearing a return from undisclosed absence.

Shortfall: Cal hasn’t found offensive punch in averaging 67 points.

Bottom line: Cal won’t be the darling of the conference this season because of its lack of depth and consistency.

4. Arizona State (11-1)

Coach: Charli Turner Thorne (17th season), 313-198.

Top scorer:G Deja Mann (11.1).

Resume: Overtime upset against then-No. 11 North Carolina validated by home victory against No. 20 Syracuse.

Telling stat: Nine players average more than 16 minutes, none more than 25.

Revelation: Freshman F Kelsey Moos (Reardan HS) is averaging 9.1 points and 6.5 rebounds as a starter.

Shortfall: Averages a league-worst 20 turnovers.

Bottom line: Ranked 24th in the nation, ASU has the pieces to return to the NCAA tournament.

5. Washington (7-4)

Coach: Mike Neighbors (1st), 7-4.

Top scorer: G Jazmine Davis (18.8).

Resume: Losses against Texas A&M DePaul and Portland overshadow quality win against Wisconsin.

Telling stat: UW’s starting backcourt – Davis, Kelsey Plum and Mercedes Wetmore – averages 33 or more minutes.

Revelation: Undersized forward Talia Walton is averaging a career-high 13.9 points and 9.8 rebounds.

Shortfall: Huskies played their past four games with a seven-player roster.

Bottom line: Injuries and need for a signature win already put Washington’s tournament hopes on the bubble.

6. Utah (7-4)

Coach: Anthony Levrets (4th year), 64-51.

Top scorer: F Michelle Plouffe (19.6).

Resume: Losses include a five-pointer to then-No. 15 Nebraska and a 16-pointer to Utah Valley.

Telling stat: Could benefit from playing No. 1 Stanford and No. 23 Cal only once – at home.

Revelation: Freshman F Emily Potter is averaging 12.3 points , 6.0 rebounds.

Shortfall: F Taryn Wicijowski. the team’s No. 2 rebounder last year, tore her ACL before the season and won’t play this season.

Bottom line: Utes have the depth to cover for the loss of Wicijowski.

7. UCLA (6-7, 0-1 Pac-12)

Coach: Cori Close (3rd year), 46-31.

Top scorer: F Atonye Nyingifa (17.7).

Resume: A 1-3 showing against ranked opponents, along with losses to James Madison and Auburn.

Telling stat: UCLA shoots 29.6 percent from three-point range.

Revelation: G Nirra Fields is averaging 17.2 points in her first year as a full-time starter.

Shortfall: G Kari Kover, last year’s three-point leader, suffered a season-ending knee injury in September.

Bottom line: UCLA is still adjusting to key injuries and losing three graduated starters.

8. Oregon (9-2)

Coach: Paul Westhead (5th year), 59-78.

Top scorer: G Chrishae Rowe (25.4).

Resume: No signature wins; lost to No. 1 UConn (114-68) and Sacramento State (97-85).

Telling stat: F Jillian Alleyne is second in the nation in rebounding (14.3) while the Ducks lead the nation in scoring (105.3).

Revelation: Hofstra transfer Katelyn Loper fits into offense, averaging 16.3 points and 4.1 rebounds.

Shortfall: Oregon has a plus-11.6 rebounding margin but allows opponents to shoot 42.9 percent.

Bottom line: Rowe is surrounded by a seasoned, healthy roster that could help her and UO flourish.

9. Washington State (6-6)

Coach: June Daugherty (6th year), 62-135.

Top scorer: G Tia Presley (20.4).

Resume: Upset then-No. 10 Nebraska but couldn’t beat Hawaii or Cal State Northridge.

Telling stat: WSU averages 12.5 assists, which ranks 11th in the conference.

Revelation: Shalie Dheensaw is a solid starting center, averaging 7.1 rebounds.

Shortfall: Cougs shoot 67.8 percent from foul line.

Bottom line: WSU has potential, desire and talent but lack of consistency is holding it back.

10. Oregon State (8-4)

Coach: Scott Rueck (4th year), 47-59.

Top scorer: Clarkston’s Jamie Weisner (15.2).

Resume: Loss to No. 2 Notre Dame was expected, but missed opportunities in losses to Florida and Creighton.

Telling stat: OSU is ninth in the nation in three-pointers made (9.1) and 14th in three-point percentage (.394).

Revelation: 6-6 sophomore C Ruth Hamblin ranks ninth in nation in blocks (3.3).

Shortfall: Team averages 17.3 turnovers.

Bottom line: A clear identity didn’t surface in nonconference play, so Beavers could be a sleeper.

11. USC (8-5, 1-0 Pac-12)

Coach: Cynthia Cooper (1st year), 8-5.

Top scorer: G Ariya Crook (16.3).

Resume: Nothing impressive, going 0-3 against currently ranked opponents.

Telling stat: It’s early but F Cassie Harberts’ scoring (14.3) and rebounding (7.1) are down from last season.

Revelation: F Alexyz Vaioletama averages team-leading 7.7 rebounds and shoots 47.9 percent from the field.

Shortfall: The Trojans shoot a league-worst 64.3 percent from the foul line.

Bottom line: Cooper starred at USC in the 1980s and will have to be patient in rebuilding the program.

12. Arizona (4-7)

Coach: Niya Butts (6th), 78-90.

Top scorer: G Candice Warthen (13.5).

Resume: A five-game losing streak coupled with two overtime losses likely dashed any postseason hopes.

Telling stat: G/F Kama Griffitts is the Wildcats’ only three-point threat, shooting 39.7 percent from behind the arc.

Revelation: Five different players have led the Wildcats in scoring in its 11 nonconference games.

Shortfall: Senior Alli Gloyd and freshman Dejza James are out due to season-ending ACL tears.

Bottom line: Butts needs to tread water in hopes of making it to next season when Ken Griffey Jr.’s talented daughter, Taryn, joins the squad.

Jayda Evans

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.