Women's basketball Pac-12 preview: ‘Cats look to climb out of the basement

Ian Green | The Daily Wildcat Arizona women's basketball head coach Adia Barnes talks to her team during their game against Iona on Nov. 10. The Wildcats won 71-58.

With the new women’s basketball season quickly approaching, there is no better time like the present to take a look at the Pac-12 landscape and see where the Wildcats stand in comparison.

ASU (Last Year: 22-13) 

Finishing the year just outside of the AP Top 25, the Sun Devils were knocked out in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. ASU didn’t graduate any seniors in the offseason, setting them up for another good season.


Women's Basketball vs. ASU
Arizona's Sam Thomas goes on the offensive against an ASU opponent on Feb. 18 at McKale center.

Arizona (Last Year: 6-24) 

The Wildcats lost two key seniors, JaLea Bennett, who led the team in scoring, and Kat Wright, but they also added a slew of new recruits, most notably freshman Cate Reese, who was the school’s first McDonald’s All-American and the highest ranked prospect the program has ever signed.

Cate Reese
October 29, 2018. Freshman forward Cate Reese (25) during the Wildcats 88-31 exhibition win over the Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds. McKale Center, Tucson, AZ.

California (Last Year: 21-11) 

Also receiving votes for the AP Top 25, Cal was knocked out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Golden Bears will be without two of their starters from last year, including Mikayla Cowling, who led the team in minutes played.

RELATED –– Men's Pac-12 Preview: Oregon leads the way

UCLA (Last Year: 27-8)

Ranked No. 9 in the final AP Top 25 Poll, UCLA made it to the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament, losing to eventual champion Oregon, and made it to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament, losing to the eventual runner-up, Mississippi State. The Bruins took a big hit in the offseason, losing their two leading scorers from last season, Jordin Canada and Monique Billings.

Women's Basketball 1

Arizona guard Lucia Alonso (4) protects the ball from UCLA guard Jordin Canada (3) during the women's basketball game on Feb. 24 in McKale Center.

Colorado (Last Year: 15-16)

With a record of 5-13 in conference play, the bright spot of the season came in the Pac-12 Tournament, when the Buffaloes pulled off an upset of Utah in the first round. Senior Kennedy Leonard will look to build off her 2017-2018 campaign, in which she averaged 14.7 points per game.

Oregon State (Last Year: 26-8)

The Beavers finished at No. 13 in the final AP Top 25 Poll. In the Pac-12 Tournament, they were upset in their first game by ASU, but in the NCAA Tournament, they made it to the quarter finals, losing to the No. 1 seed in their bracket, Louisville. OSU lost arguably its best and most important player in Marie Gulich, who last year led the team in minutes per game, points per game, rebounds per game and field-goal percentage.

Oregon (Last Year: 33-5)

Winners of last year’s Pac-12 Tournament, the Ducks were the No. 6 team in the nation entering the NCAA Tournament, where they lost in the quarterfinals to eventual-champions Notre Dame. Oregon retained the majority of its starting lineup, including Sabrina Lonescu and Ruthy Hebard, who averaged 19.7 and 17.6 ppg, respectively.

Women's Basketball vs Oregon
Arizona's, Lucia Alonso (4), is in pursuit of Orgeon's Maite Cazorla(5) during the game on Feb. 25 at McKale center.

USC (Last Year: 20-11)

Unable to make the NCAA Tournament, the Trojans were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament by Stanford. USC lost two of its starters from last year to graduation, Kristen Simon and Sadie Edwards. Simon nearly averaged a double-double, with 17 ppg and 9.2 rebounds per game.

Stanford (Last Year: 24-11)

The runner up of the Pac-12 Tournament finished as the No. 15 team in the AP Top 25, making it to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal lost two starters, including Brittany McPhee, who averaged a team-high 16.7 points per game.

Utah (Last Year: 18-14)

The Utes lost in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament, getting upset by Colorado. Utah lost three players, including its leading rebounder Emily Potter.

Washington State (Last Year: 10-20)

WSU finished with a 3-14 record in Pac-12 play and was bounced in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. The Cougs retained its three highest scorers from last year, including junior Chanelle Molina, who will be joined this year by her sisters, freshman Cherilyn and redshirt freshman Celena.

Washington (Last Year: 7-23)

The Huskies finished last in the Pac-12 last year, and things only got worse for Washington, as its lost three seniors, including starter Jenna Moser, who had the third-highest point total on the team.

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