Oregon falls; Oregon State undefeated
Updated: Tuesday December 12, 2000 10:53 AM
By Maureen Mullen, Special to CNNSI.com
And then there was one...
After stealing their way through two top 25 teams and pouncing on two other area opponents, Oregon had defined itself as the leader in the Pac-10 conference. However a disastrous 82-58 loss to No. 25 Texas left critics wondering if Oregon's No. 10 ranking last week was a bit premature.
With 17:27 left in the game, senior Angelina Wolvert put in a pair of free throws, giving the forward her 1,000th career point and putting the Ducks within three. There was little time to celebrate the milestone, as the Longhorns simply erupted in the second half, charging past Oregon with their overwhelming quickness and superb free throw shooting.
Oregon's big three Wolvert, Jenny Mowe and Brianne Meharry all had four fouls with over nine minutes remaining in the game and were forced to sit for a majority of the closing minutes. The trio, which had been shooting a combined 62 percent from the field, was held to just 41 percent on Saturday.
After the Ducks dropped their first contest of the year, only Oregon State remains undefeated in the Pac-10. The Beavers continued their impressive 2000 campaign with a convincing 65-52 win over previously-unbeaten St. Mary's. The Gaels are no easy foe and handed No. 18 Stanford an opening season upset loss.
Things don't get any easier this week for either of the Oregon schools as the Ducks travel to No. 8 Texas Tech while the Beavers are challenged by Utah, a team that sits on the fringe of the top 25, at home.
While many of its conference rivals entertained light schedules this past week, Arizona dribbled its way through three games and three wins in a short five-day period this week.
On Wednesday, the Wildcats rolled over UNLV. However, while they gained a tally in the win column, Arizona lost forward Veranda James to a probable broken nose. The forward is currently averaging a conference leading 10.2 rebounds for the Wildcats, as well as 16.2 points per contest. While she didn't see any action in either of the weekend games, the star newcomer is looking to return to the roster as soon as possible.
The Wildcats were able to make up for the loss of James, netting impressive victories in the Arizona Basketball Classic on Friday and Sunday. Arizona looks to have established an excellent rotation early in the season, with all five of its starters making key contributions throughout the weekend. Elizabeth Pickney, Aimee Gryzb and Krista Warren all tallied all-tournament honors for the Wildcats. Senior guard Reshea Bristol was the tourney MVP.
"I believed we could be 6-1 at this point in the season," said head coach Joan Bonvicini . "I didn't anticipate our young players progressing as fast as they have been. I think at times we are playing a lot better then I thought we would and it bodes well for the rest of the season."
A Reunion of Sorts
California head coach Caren Horstmeyer almost always cheers for Santa Clara. The first year Pac-10 coach left the Broncos just last year to accept the coaching position at Berkley and still has close ties to her old team. However, in her new squad's close 77-73 loss against Santa Clara this Sunday, Horstmeyer was all Cal.
"That was a great game," said Horstmeyer. "There had to be a winner and there had to be a loser. For me, it was a really fun game. I'll always love them, but I have my new team. And, I'm a Bear."
Horstmeyer's initial season in the conference hasn't been all that shabby. After dropping its first two contests, the Bears have been at .500 for the last six games. In a win over USF this past week, Cal looked confident and under control. Senior point guard Courtney Johnson pilots Corley's squad, and in addition to running the floor, has put up some impressive numbers throughout the season. In the loss against Santa Clara, Johnson paced the Bears with a career-high 32 points.
With a host of returning stars such as Tiffany Elmore and Denise Woods and some talented newcomers, including Ebony Hoffman, USC was expected to be among the conference leaders this year. However two opening losses against Creighton and Drake left the Trojans struggling to find their game.
But since returning home to the comforts of Southern California, USC has found no trouble fulfilling its hoop dreams. The Trojans have won their last four games and are increasing the margin of victory with every game they play. In its past two wins, over Sacramento State and San Diego, the team has averaged over 50 percent shooting from the field.
You call that a break?
After sweating through two weeks of preparation and test taking for exams at Stanford, it seems all the Cardinal women would want to do is go home and relax with their families for a nice holiday break. Unfortunately, even exams at the Farm might seem easy when the Cardinal travels to No. 2 Tennessee and No. 6 Purdue next week after a two-week break from any on-court action.
Tara VanDerveer's squad jumped out with five home victories after losing to St. Mary's on the road, leaving them in a critical position this week if they want to establish themselves among the nation's top teams. A victory over either the Lady Vols or the Boilermakers would give Stanford and west coast basketball some credibility.
Maureen Mullen is a reporter for The Stanford Daily, the student newspaper of Stanford University.