The Oregon State Women’s Basketball team heads to Tempe on Sunday for their final regular season game against Arizona State. After dispatching Arizona Friday night, the Beavers have locked up a first round by in the Pac-12 Tourney. While they won’t be able to win a share of the regular season title this year, they still have a chance to take the number three seed (more on that in a bit). Check out the game (1 PM PST) on the Pac-12 Network, listen on the Oregon State Beavers Sports Network, or follow along on the team’s official Twitter account. Let’s revisit the Sun Devils.
Arizona State (RV in AP Poll, 19-9 overall, 10-6 conference)
Oregon State handed Arizona State their first Pac-12 loss back on January 12th, and since then the conference has not been kind to the Sun Devils as they are 6-6 since that first meeting. Despite the .500 record, the Sun Devils still boast the best scoring defense in the conference at 57.1 points per game.
Arizona State features a number of players to keep an eye on. Forward Kianna Ibis remains the team’s leading scorer at 12.7 points per game while shooting 50% from the floor. They also feature three other players averaging just above 10 points per game in forward Courtney Ekmark, guard Sabrina Haines, and guard Robbi Ryan. Forward Charnea Johnson-Chapman leads the team in rebounds at 6.9 per game as well as field goal percentage at 56.5% (fourth best in the conference). Point guard Reili Richardson doesn’t turn the ball over much as she leads the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.6 (0.9 better than UCLA’s Jordin Canada).
The Sun Devils are coming off their second loss to the Oregon Ducks. They had a one point lead heading into halftime, but ended up on the wrong side of a 33-19 scoring margin in the second half.
These teams’ last match-up in Corvallis was a close one with Oregon State pulling off the three point win. The home court advantage would make up that difference for the Sun Devils, but the Beavers are the more improved team, having gone 10-2 in conference since that January 12th meeting. Look for the Beavers to walk away with another win to finish 14-4 in conference.
The top four teams in the conference are set in Oregon, Stanford, Oregon State, and UCLA; but none of the four seeds are finalized. While Oregon has clinched at least a share of the conference title, they still need a win over Arizona or a Stanford loss to clinch the one seed. If they slip up and Stanford wins, Stanford gets the one seed while Oregon drops to number two because of their home loss to the Cardinal on February 4th (the teams’ only match-up).
Oregon State is currently tied at third with UCLA and each of those teams are 1-1 against one another. When you go to the next tier of tiebreaker, you observe the teams’ records against the top team, in this current case it’s Oregon. Oregon State is 1-1 against Oregon while UCLA is 0-2; advantage Oregon State. Now if Oregon trips at Arizona (highly unlikely) and Stanford wins, the Cardinal will be the top seed, which would give UCLA the second tier tiebreaker to the Bruins who were 1-1 against the Cardinal while the Beavers were 0-1.
The Beavers can wind up fourth a couple different ways, and this is where it gets trickier. The simplest way would be Oregon State loses and UCLA wins, so they would wind up solely in fourth place. Now if the Beavers and UCLA both win and Stanford loses, they wind up in a tie for second place. Ruling says that seeding is decided by their collective records against the other two teams. Stanford is 2-1 (.667), UCLA is 2-2 (.500), and Oregon State 1-2 (.333). Therefore, the Beavers would be the fourth seed.
The most likely scenario is all four teams win on Sunday and conference seeding ends up being: 1) Oregon, 2) Stanford, 3) Oregon State, 4) UCLA. Feel free to correct me if I screwed this up, but I’m now a cup and a half into my coffee for the day, so I think I’m functioning on all cylinders. Go Beavs!