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Pac-12 update: No. 15 UCLA Bruins have impressed

The No. 2 Stanford Cardinal, No. 14 Arizona Wildcats, No. 15 UCLA Bruins, No. 16 Utah Utes and No. 19 Oregon Ducks could all be threats nationally.

NCAA Womens Basketball: UCLA at South Carolina
Kiki Rice (with ball) scored 16 points Tuesday night as she got her first taste of going up against a No. 1 team.
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Conference play may not be underway, but the season is. Lots of things have changed since our last Pac-12 update. Stanford suffered its first loss, UCLA has taken a leap forward and Utah has continued to impress. Here is where every team in the Pac-12 stands at the end of November.

1) No. 2 Stanford Cardinal (8-1)

Stanford is 8-1 and its only loss came against South Carolina in what is an early candidate for game of the year. Minus that defeat, the Cardinal have looked good. Cameron Brink continues to dominate, leading the team in points, rebounds and blocks, and Hannah Jump and Kiki Iriafen continue to take leaps forward.

2) No. 14 Arizona Wildcats (6-0)

Arizona continues to impress and has yet to be tested by any of its opponents. The guard-forward combo of Shaina Pellington and Esmery Martinez has worked out quite well and the team has leaped in the AP rankings from No. 19 to No. 14. The next big test for the Wildcats won’t be until mid-December when they face off against the Baylor Bears.

3) No. 15 UCLA Bruins (7-1)

The Bruins have been the season’s surprise, as they are now a Top 15 team. They just lost to Southern Carolina 73-64 but pushed the NCAA champs to the brink and have looked good in their seven victories. Charisma Osborne continues to shine, averaging 20.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. UCLA’s impressive start makes it a team to watch not just in the Pac-12 but also nationally.

4) No. 16 Utah Utes (6-0)

Utah has yet to lose and doesn’t appear to have a true test until the start of 2023. So far, Alissa Pili is having an incredible season, averaging 18.5 points and 6.3 rebounds. Gianna Kneepkens continues to improve and the Utes seem like a dangerous Top 25 team.

5) No. 19 Oregon Ducks (5-1)

The final ranked team in the Pac-12 is the Oregon Ducks and they’ve moved up two spots to No. 19. Their only loss of the season came at the hands of No. 8 North Carolina in a six-point defeat. Despite the loss, the Ducks have to be pleased with the performances they’ve gotten from the trio of Te-Hina Paopao, Grace VanSlooten and Endyia Rogers. It should be smooth sailing for Oregon until the end of the month when they face off against the Bruins.

6) Oregon State Beavers (4-2)

The Beavers have gone 2-2 since our last update and are right in the middle of the pack in the Pac-12. Talia von Oelhoffen is as dominant as ever, leading the team and scoring 18.2 points a game.

7) Washington State Cougars (5-1)

No longer unbeaten, the Cougars fell to BYU 65-56 last Friday. Washington State still has a softer schedule and can rack up wins in December if Charlisse Leger-Walker continues to perform at a high level.

8) Colorado Buffaloes (5-2)

The Colorado Buffaloes look good after a dominant win against Chicago State. They are 5-2 in non-conference play and their next big test will be against Utah on Dec. 18. Expectations aren’t high for Colorado, but they look like a developing team heading in the right direction.

9) USC Trojans (6-0)

USC remains unbeaten and the future of Trojan basketball appears as bright as ever. The Trojans will be challenged when they face off against their rival UCLA in mid-December, which will be must-see television.

10) Washington Huskies (5-1)

Having just suffered their first loss this weekend, the Huskies have played well so far. Cal transfer Dalayah Daniels is leading the team in points and looks comfortable in the Washington offense. Still too early to tell if they can improve to be a middle-of-the-pack team in the conference, but going undefeated in December is a realistic possibility for the Huskies.

11) California Golden Bears (5-1)

Cal has won four in a row since our last update and has played well. They have a nice backcourt of Jayda Curry and Kemery Martin and will be looking to add some more wins to their record before conference play begins.

12) Arizona State Sun Devils (5-1)

With nowhere to go but up, the Sun Devils are at the bottom of the Pac-12 rankings. They recently lost to No. 7 Notre Dame but have gotten great production from Tyi Skinner. It will be interesting to see how Arizona State performs when conference play starts.

With five Top 25 teams, the Pac-12 is as stacked as ever. With conference games happening later this month, the competition will finally ramp up in December as we head into the middle of the season. If 2022 is any indicator, 2023 will be an exciting time for Pac-12 women’s basketball.