Angie Forburger, assistant Sports editor
Pac-12 gymnastics competition is underway.
No. 2 UCLA (2-0, 1-0 Pac-12) – the highest-ranked team in the conference – scored a season-best 197.775 against No. 19 Arizona State (1-1, 0-1) on Monday. UCLA will next travel to Stanford (0-1, 0-1) in a dual meet Sunday.
The Cardinal took home two first-place finishes to open its season but lost to No. 12 California (1-1, 1-0) on Monday. Stanford will next host its first two home meets of the year against UCLA and No. 11 Washington (1-1, 1-0).
Coming off their loss to UCLA, Arizona State will host No. 4 Utah (3-0, 1-0) on Saturday before traveling to Berkeley to take on California and No. 16 BYU in a tri-meet.
The Utes have yet to lose a meeting this season, defeating Penn State, BYU and No. 19 Oregon State (0-1, 0-1). After facing Arizona State, Utah has two home meets slated for the next two weeks against Arizona (0-2, 0-1) and California.
After dropping their season opener to No. 5 LSU and finishing second at the Collegiate Challenge, the Golden Bears took home a win against Stanford on Monday. They will continue their season Saturday against Arizona.
Arizona has not won a meet this season, finishing second in a quad-meet against Central Michigan, Bridgeport and Illinois and falling to Arkansas and Washington the past two weeks. After hosting California, Arizona will travel to Utah.
Washington split its first two meets of the year, falling to No. 18 Nebraska but defeating Arizona. The Huskies will next host the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday.
Oregon State finished first in a quad-meet against Illinois, No. 17 Kentucky and Lindenwood but dropped its first dual meet Saturday to Utah.
Ryan Smith, Sports editor
Two weeks into Pac-12 play, the Bruins find themselves sitting in a four-way tie at fourth place in the conference standings.
UCLA (10-8, 3-2 Pac-12) opened its Pac-12 schedule with three straight victories, but suffered back-to-back road losses to Oregon State and USC last week. The Bruins will face two of the three schools ahead of them in the standings at the end of the week when they host the Arizona Wildcats (14-5, 5-1) and Arizona State Sun Devils (13-5, 4-2) at Pauley Pavilion.
Arizona State – who knocked off then-No. 1 Kansas in December and currently rank third in the Pac-12 – have been inconsistent in conference play with wins over Oregon (11-7, 2-3) and Oregon State (11-6, 3-2), but losses to Utah (9-8, 3-2) and Stanford (9-9, 2-4).
Arizona, on the other hand, has arguably been the most surprising team in the Pac-12. After losing a handful of recruits before the start of the season, coach Sean Miller and the Wildcats have strung together a 5-1 start to conference play – good enough for the second spot in the standings.
Despite hot starts from both Arizona schools, there is still one unbeaten program sitting atop the Pac-12 – Washington. The Huskies are a perfect 5-0 and will head to Oregon this weekend for matchups with the Ducks and Beavers before returning home next week to face the Bruins and Trojans.
With only two games separating the first and seventh spots in the conference standings, this weekend’s slate of games has the ability to drastically shift the current landscape.
Sam Connon, assistant Sports editor
The race atop the Pac-12 is still neck-and-neck.
The Pac-12 boasts five teams ranked in the women’s basketball top 25, including three inside the top 10. No. 5 Oregon (17-1, 6-0 Pac-12) leads the pack due to a tiebreaker, but No. 6 Stanford (16-1, 6-0) is right there with it.
No. 9 Oregon State (15-3, 5-1) and No. 21 Utah (16-1, 5-1) aren’t undefeated in conference play, but they’re just one game back from the top spot in the Pac-12. The Beavers entered last weekend tied for first with the Ducks and the Cardinal, but a 79-76 loss to the No. 16 Arizona State Sun Devils (13-5, 4-3) knocked them down a rung.
USC (11-6, 1-5) and Colorado (10-7, 0-6) join Washington (8-11, 1-6) in the bottom three, but the Trojans and Buffaloes both entered the Pac-12 schedule at 10-1. USC did earn its first conference win Sunday, going across Los Angeles to beat UCLA (9-9, 2-4) 72-67, making it four straight losses for the Bruins.
California (12-5, 3-3), Arizona (13-5, 3-4) and Washington State (7-11, 2-5) join UCLA in the middle of the pack, but the Golden Bears are still receiving votes in the AP poll after topping out at No. 13 back in mid-December.