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Pac-12 update: Six teams from the conference are now in the top 25

Conference play is nearing, but, in the meantime, Pac-12 teams continue to climb up the rankings.

Bellarmine v UCLA
Lauren Betts and Camryn Brown high five during pregame introductions for the No. 2 UCLA Bruins.
Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

Just as when we provided our previous Pac-12 update, we have six teams from the conference represented in the top 25 women's college basketball rankings. There has been some shuffling of the deck and injuries have hit one team particularly hard.

Here is your update on the best of the West Coast:


No. 2 UCLA Bruins (7-0)

The Bruins have stayed at the number No. 2 spot in the country for a while now, remaining unbeaten. Their biggest test so far came from then-No.6 UConn, which they beat 78-67 thanks to Kiki Rice’s sensational performance. The sophomore guard dropped 24 points on 9-for-15 shooting.

The Bruins are stacked! With elite guards and a dominant big in Lauren Betts, delivering UCLA their first defeat will be a tough task. A couple of teams coming up will have good chances of doing so, with the Bruins playing two ranked teams: No. 20 Florida State Seminoles on Sunday, Dec. 10 and No. 12 Ohio State Buckeyes on Monday, Dec. 18.

No. 7 USC Trojans (7-0)

Don't call it a comeback! They've been here for years! Okay, maybe you can call it a comeback.

The emergence of JuJu Watkins has accelerated the relevance and dominance of USC; they've gone from a good team in the Pac-12 worth keeping an eye on to a team that could win it all this season. Watkins is that good, breaking freshman records virtually every time she steps onto the floor. She is currently averaging 27.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game.

Yes, basketball is a team sport. But when you have someone as dominant as Watkins on your roster, the opponent across from you almost doesn’t matter—they are going to have trouble stopping you. So far, no team has faced the Trojans and come out victorious.

No. 8 Colorado Buffaloes (9-1)

Speaking of teams that have surprising rises, the Colorado Buffaloes are picking up where they left off last year and have continued to pile on wins with nine in the first 10 games this season. They started red-hot, beating LSU and winning eight-straight before losing to then-No. 10 NC State, 78-60.

The Buffaloes are a top-heavy squad, with four key players carrying most of the offensive and defensive responsibilities. Still, it’s a good balance of forwards and guards. With how successful they’ve been, you can’t really argue with the results or complain about a lack of depth.

The Buffaloes' next big test comes against No. 11 Utah at the end of the month. It will be interesting to see if that delivers them another loss or win against a top-ranked opponent.

No. 9 Stanford Cardinal (8-1)

The Pac-12 used to be Stanford’s conference to lose. Now, they are just another team in the mix. This happened due teams around them getting better and the program falling off just a bit. But, here we are.

The Cardinal just suffered their first defeat of the season, losing to Gonzaga 96-78 in a game where Stanford’s guards didn't have an answer for Brynna Maxwell. She had 27 points, as did her teammate Yvonne Ejim.

It was a tough loss, but it's better to get it out of the way before conference play begins. However, Stanford will not be favored to win the conference until they can prove they can beat the teams currently ranked ahead of them.

No. 11 Utah Utes (7-1)

We can talk about the positive start for Utah, currently sitting at 7-1 and ranked No. 11 in the country. But none of that seems to matter now that Gianna Kneepkens is out for the season.

The junior guard suffered a right foot injury against BYU that will require surgery, ending her season far too soon. Outside of the human aspect, the injury puts Utah in a difficult position, as Kneepkens was critical to the Utes’ offense as the team's second-leading scorer.

They'll have to rely even more on Alissa Pili. And while I'm sure she's up to the challenge, it doesn't make life easier for the Utes. Here's hoping Kneepkens has a successful surgery and a speedy recovery!

No. 21 Washington State Cougars (10-1)

The final representative of the Pac-12 in the top 25 rankings is Washington State. They’ve suffered just one defeat since our previous check-in and have continued to rack up quality wins. They won’t have a matchup against a ranked opponent until they play Stanford during the first week of the new year. Until then, the focus for the Cougars is extending their three-game winning streak to six games, and then seeing how they fare against their Pac-12 rival.