Week 10 with the Pac-12: Drama On and Off the Court
Stanford came back twice to stay perfect in the conference
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You can’t say there weren’t huge Pac-12 storylines during week 10 of the season. Stanford had two big comebacks on the road. Oregon had two wins over Top 10 teams. And, oh, yeah…there was that thing between the coaches of Arizona and the Ducks.
To get the last one out of the way, over the past few days both Arizona’s Adia Barnes and Oregon’s Kelly Graves have tried to downplay whatever happened in Eugene. Neither will come out and say what it was.
In Barnes’ regular Wednesday press conference, she responded to several questions about the events with answers that you might hear in a Senate hearing. Graves told the local Oregon press that he thought it was being blown out of proportion. Both chalked up the events to being competitive.
“That’s not always pretty,” Graves told James Crepea of The Oregonian.
What were the accusations? After the game, Oregon fans claimed that Barnes made an obscene gesture towards Graves. Barnes did not deny those accusations, posting on Twitter that she didn’t handle herself the way she should have.
Her players charged that Graves was swearing at Barnes during the game. She won’t say exactly what was said to her or by whom but says that she shouldn’t have let it get to her and usually doesn’t. Like Graves, she said she believed it was not the story it was made out to be.
“I think it happens in men’s games, probably every single game,” Barnes said. “But it’s not an issue because it’s men. Men can coach different because they’re men. If men are yelling like crazy, they’re passionate. If women are yelling like crazy, they’re crazy. So that’s just a double standard we have in our sport and unfortunately, that’s the way it is.”
The only thing the Pac-12 was interested in addressing was Barnes’ postgame displeasure with the officiating in a game where Arizona went into the fourth quarter leading and lost on a last-second shot in overtime. They reprimanded her for stating that the Wildcats got “homered” in a game where Oregon shot 26 free throws to Arizona’s 10 and two Wildcats fouled out.
It put a damper on a great weekend of basketball. In addition to their win over Arizona, Oregon also defeated No. 9 Connecticut in a game the Ducks controlled. Oregon took down the shorthanded Huskies 72-59 on Monday, which should land them in the Associated Press Top 25 next week.
Meanwhile, Stanford clawed its way to two comeback road wins. The first was to the detriment of previously-unbeaten Colorado. The Buffaloes came out on fire, opening the game on a 6-0 run and getting 10 steals in the first quarter. The Cardinal settled down after that, outscoring the Buffs in the other three quarters of the game in a 60-52 victory.
Stanford would come back again in their second game of the Mountain road trip on the back of a double-double from Cameron Brink. In Salt Lake City, the Cardinal played relatively even against Utah in the opening 10 minutes, but the Utes had a huge second quarter to take a 37-30 lead into halftime.
Headed into the last frame, the home team still had a three-point lead. They couldn’t hold it, though, as the Cardinal outscored them by 13 over the final 10 minutes to win 83-73. It was enough to keep Stanford atop the Pac-12 with a perfect 4-0 record in conference play.
Voting for the Best
Player of the Week
My vote: Cameron Brink, Stanford
The winner: Cameron Brink, Stanford
Brink was a major cog in the wheel that kept the Cardinal perfect through the difficult trip to the Mountain schools. Against the Buffaloes, she had 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and a block. Perhaps just as importantly for a player who often lands in foul trouble, she was whistled just once.
She wasn’t quite as clean with the officials against Utah. She was called for four fouls, marking the sixth time this season that she has been whistled at least four times in a game. But she also racked up positive numbers. Brink was instrumental in the comeback against the Utes with 24 points, 11 rebounds, an assist, and a block.
Player of the Week wasn’t much of a contest for me, especially since her effort helped end No. 22 Colorado’s unbeaten streak.
Freshman of the Week
My vote: Jenna Johnson, Utah
The winner: Jenna Johnson, Utah
This was a close call between Johnson and USC’s Rayah Marshall. Johnson averaged 16.5 points per game in two contests. She scored 15 against Stanford and 18 in 25 minutes against UC Riverside. Marshall went for 15 against Washington and six against Washington State.
In addition to Johnson’s superior numbers, the question came down to who had the tougher schedule. There wasn’t much between them.
Johnson’s team played UC Riverside, which is ranked No. 257 in our rankings as of Wednesday night, but they also played Stanford. The Cardinal come in at No. 3 in our system. Marshall and the Women of Troy faced No. 133 Washington and No. 78 Washington State. The inclusion of Stanford more than outweighed the game against UC Riverside for me when it came time to vote.