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Metcalfe on Pac-12 hoops: All-convention picks, event seed intrigue and a trace of vulnerability from Stanford

Possibly it won’t make any difference as soon as photographs start out flying Wednesday in the 21st Pac-12 women’s match, but 2nd-ranked Stanford staying pushed in its final a few regular-time game titles gives at minimum a glimmer of hope for an upset champion.

The Cardinal finished their eighth undefeated Pac-12 operate with victories about Washington Condition (61-54) and Washington (63-56), trailing in the latter by a place with just more than a moment remaining.

Right before that, on Feb. 20, they held off Oregon 66-62.

For the defending nationwide champs, winning their 15th Pac-12 event title appears fewer of a specified than it was a few weeks in the past — not that coach Tara VanDerveer will do nearly anything other than have her workforce prepared for an party that she treats as the begin of the postseason.

“That’s how you get the NCAA (automatic) seed,” VanDerveer instructed reporters a short while ago. (The Cardinal by now is virtually confident of a No. 1 seed no subject what happens at the Mandalay Bay Occasions Middle.)

Anna Wilson converted a crucial steal into a layup and created 3-of-4 free throws in Stanford’s 31st consecutive acquire above a Pac-12 opponent.

“If that’s our 12th-put staff (Washington), we’ve got a hell of a conference,” VanDerveer mentioned. “We had our hands entire the total video game. We ended up not very good at placing the ball in the basket. Thanks goodness we did some other factors.”

The last 7 days of the common time, ending Saturday, resulted in four Pac-12 tournament seeding alterations: Colorado climbing to the No. 5 seed around Utah, which is now the No. 6, and UCLA jumping Oregon State in the No. 7/8 places.

That alter implies the Bruins will encounter rival USC in the opening round on Wednesday, with the Trojans actively playing better than they were in January when they dropped two times to UCLA.

But leading scorer Jordyn Jenkins did not engage in versus the Arizona colleges past 7 days due to damage, and her availability is crucial against battle-analyzed UCLA, which was dominant versus Cate Reese-considerably less No. 12 Arizona (64-46) on Thursday.

Colorado, which is on a 4-sport winning streak — which include a double time beyond regulation victory in excess of No. 25 Oregon — will encounter Washington in an intriguing No. 5 vs. 12 event opener.

“I don’t know that I have ever cried on Senior Working day until currently,” mentor JR Payne stated following the Buffaloes conquer Oregon State for their initial 20-acquire time since 2012-13.

“When you go as a result of a lot of a long time of trouble, it just hits a tiny little bit distinct. All of these fellas designed a commitment to do something about it and that is what helps make it so unique.”

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Third-seeded Washington State has gained five of six game titles considering that shedding 83-30 to Oregon in early February and could satisfy the Ducks again in the semifinals on Friday.

Participant of Year discussion: Stanford’s Jones or Brink?

The all-meeting teams and award winners will be declared this week.

The Player of the Calendar year race, as we discussed last week, seemingly is an eye-of-the-beholder selection between Stanford’s Cameron Brink and Hayley Jones, who are 10th and 11th in the conference in scoring and the leading-two rebounders.

The Hotline nod goes to Jones, a 6-foot-1 junior guard, for her clutch enjoy in vital circumstances and general flexibility.

The 6-foot-4 Brink has built important strides in her 2nd time. And with a meeting-high 11 double-doubles (Jones has 8), she may well conclude up carrying the vote.

Kamie Ethridge, in her fourth season at Washington State, is a deserving beloved for Mentor of the Year.

The Cougars have their most wins (19) in the NCAA era, additionally a school-file 11 meeting wins and their highest match seed (No. 3) by 4 areas.

Our runner-up for Mentor of the Calendar year is UCLA’s Cori Close for steadying the injuries-plagued Bruins into seventh position.

Our choices for other Pac-12 awards:

— Sixth Player of the Year: Stanford’s Fran Belibi
— Most Improved Participant: USC’s Jordyn Jenkins
— Defensive Player of the Year: Arizona’s Sam Thomas
— Freshman of the Calendar year: Cal’s Jayda Curry

Belibi would start out for virtually each and every group the nation.

Jenkins, a 6-foot-2 ahead, has blossomed into a star as a sophomore, averaging 15.1 details and 6.7 rebounds.

Thomas previously has built the all-defensive group two times and gets our lean in excess of Stanford’s Wilson.

Curry sales opportunities the Pac-12 in scoring (18.7 points per match) and has been a 5-time Freshman of the 7 days.

In our view, 14 of the 15 all-meeting alternatives are obvious even however Oregon’s candidates simply cannot be uncovered in Pac-12 all round stats because they tumble brief of the games-performed threshold (75 %) because of to injuries.

But the Ducks’ Nyara Sabally, Endyia Rogers and Te-Hina Paopao are among the best-15 scorers in Pac-12 game titles, and Sabally is No. 6 in rebounding. (She most likely will be third in Participant of the Year voting.)

Some others on our all-conferene ballot: Stanford’s Jones, Brink and Lexie Hull UCLA’s Charisma Osborne and IImar’I Thomas Arizona’s Reese WSU’s Charlisse Leger-Walker ASU’s Jade Loville Colorado’s Mya Hollingshed Cal’s Curry and USC’s Jenkins.

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That leaves one location, but for whom?

A 2nd participant from Washington State (Johanna Teder) or Arizona (Shaina Pellington)? Oregon State’’s Talia Von Oelhoffen or Washington’s Nancy Mulkey?

We settled on Gianna Kneepkens, a different five-time Freshman of the 7 days winner, to stand for Utah’s 1st-class offense.

Coaching position quo: It is achievable

Could the coaching carousel spin this spring throughout the Pac-12?

VanDerveer is completing her 35th year whilst ASU’s Charli Turner Thorne is wrapping up her 25th. Neither is giving off retirement vibes, though a second straight countrywide title could be an enticement to go out on major for VanDerveer, who turns 69 in June and currently is the winningest mentor in women’s basketball heritage. (She demands two more wins for 1,000 at Stanford.)

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