Posted on February 5, 2021
Four ranked in the AP poll—No. 5 UCLA, No. 6 Stanford, No. 9 Arizona and No. 12 Oregon—are looking for key wins in upcoming games this weekend, including a rematch between Stanford and Colorado in Palo Alto, and a much-anticipated rematch between Arizona and Oregon on Monday afternoon at Matt Knight Arena.
With Stanford favored to win the contest, the NCAA Tournament Bracket might be more forgiving of the Cardinal’s brutal overtime loss to Colorado back in January, if they can turn it around in this rematch.
As it stands, the Cardinal are projected to be a No. 2 seed by ESPN’s Charlie Creme, with losses by top-seeded teams also playing a role in the ranking.
Oregon State remains on the bubble for now, but with the latest cancellations and nine total postponed games to make up in the season, the chances of making the tournament are looking slimmer and slimmer. The Beavers are 4-5 in conference play, with the Sun Devils and the Buffs just behind at 4-6 and 4-7, respectively.
OSU’s postponement does not overshadow freshman guard Sasha Goforth’s second Pac-12 Freshman of the Week pick for her 0.857 beyond-the-arc shooting against Washington, and a 16-point, 10-rebound pickup against Utah with her first double-double of the season.
Despite being possibly the most unpredictable team in the Pac-12, USC finally got sophomore guard Endyia Rogers in for Pac-12 Player of the Week after going perfect from the line and tying her career-high 30 points against Arizona State.
The Trojans will hit the road this weekend for matches against Washington on Friday and Washington State on Sunday.
With the Huskies at 1-8 in conference play, USC should not have any problems securing the win in this rescheduled match. The last of the weekend will pose a challenge for both teams, as USC just inched out ahead of the Cougars in overtime 81-77 at home January 15.
Coming back from the dead this weekend is Cal, returning from a five-game postponement due to a team-wide COVID-19 outbreak and looking to come back from 0-11 on the season.
Against a Utah team on a nine-game losing streak, the Bears will have a new addition to the backcourt in guard Mia Mastrov, a newcomer playing with the squad after graduating high school early. She’ll be put to the test against Utah’s backcourt shooting duo in sophomore guards Brynna Maxwell and Kemery Martín, who average 13.6 and 10.9 points per game, respectively.
Last but definitely not least is the five-game win-streak Bruins heading into a mild weekend against the Washington schools on the road, though the 68-66 overtime win against the Cougars is certainly not forgotten.
The absolute force of sophomore point guard Charisma Osborne is showing up with a 24.6 point average in the last five wins, helping the Bruins to their highest AP Poll ranking since 2017. UCLA will have only eight scholarship players available to play, making the possibility of 10-point or lower win margins this weekend very likely.
Currently, most Pac-12 teams are either shaking off the COVID-19 cobwebs or feeling its wrath. With tight matchups in the coming days, and championship berths on the line, any slip-up could make the difference between a win or a loss, with repercussions for postseason play.
—More from Lauren Mattice—
Mattice: Pac-12 Women Face Key Weekend ContestsFebruary will see top WBB teams vying for tournament seeds and a regular-season title - February 5, 2021
Mattice: Pac-12 Water Polo Teams set to Return to ActionAs a restart draws near, questions remain about the viability of the men's and women's seasons - January 22, 2021