Around the League: Pac-12 and MPSF sports remain competitive as winter season heats up

(Amy Dixon/Photo editor)

Angie Forburger, assistant Sports editor

The gymnastics season is underway.

Eight Pac-12 gymnastics programs kicked off their 2019 seasons this past weekend or will begin their season this week.

No. 1 UCLA (1-0) began its run to defend its 2018 NCAA title Friday with a home win against No. 11 Nebraska. The Bruins will next head to Anaheim to compete in the Collegiate Challenge against No. 8 California (0-1), Michigan State and UC Davis.

No. 5 Utah (1-0) won its season-opening meet against Penn State by nearly three points. The Utes will next travel to No. 24 BYU to battle to Cougars before facing their first Pac-12 opponent – No. 17 Oregon State – on Jan. 19.

The Golden Bears fell to No. 4 LSU Tigers on Friday and will head to the Collegiate Challenge alongside UCLA this weekend.

Oregon State has yet to begin its season as it travels to face No. 22 Illinois, No. 10 Kentucky and Lindenwood this weekend.

Washington will also start its season this weekend as it travels to face Nebraska. The Huskies’ first Pac-12 matchup is Jan. 18, when they will head to Arizona.

The Wildcats took home second place in a meet last weekend against Central Michigan, Illinois and Bridgeport. Arizona will host No. 12 Arkansas this weekend before taking on its first conference opponent in Washington the following weekend.

No. 21 Stanford finished in first place at the NorCal Classic last weekend to start the 2019 season. It will next face Sacramento State and Seattle Pacific this weekend before traveling to Berkeley on Jan. 21.

No. 20 Arizona State hosted No. 23 Minnesota, No. 19 Missouri and Illinois-Chicago and finished in second place. The Sun Devils will next travel to Texas Woman’s University on Saturday.

The season will continue through March with the Pac-12 Championships slated for Mar. 23.

Men’s basketball

Sam Connon, assistant Sports editor

The Pac-12 is wide open.

Fresh off of the worst month by a Power Five conference in over a decade, the Pac-12 got conference play rolling last weekend. Not a single team is ranked in the AP Top 25, and only Arizona State (10-4, 1-1 Pac-12) received a vote.

UCLA (9-6, 2-0), USC (9-6, 2-0) and Arizona (11-4, 2-0) are tied atop the standings. Utah (7-7, 1-1) upset Arizona State 96-86 on Thursday, but blew a late lead in regulation to Arizona and lost 84-81 in overtime.

UCLA holds a share of first place after wins over Stanford and Cal to open the conference schedule, despite losing four straight to end nonconference play. USC suffered a four-game nonconference losing streak of its own, but they closed out December with back-to-back wins.


(MacKenzie Coffman/Assistant Photo editor)

Colorado (9-5, 0-2) entered last weekend tied for the Pac-12 lead with nine out-of-conference wins, but the side lost to both Arizona and Arizona State.

Washington (10-4, 1-0) and Washington State (7-7, 0-1) faced off for their in-state rivalry game, and the Cougars came out on top 85-67. Oregon State (9-4, 1-0) won the Civil War game over Oregon (9-5, 0-1) 77-72.

Washington State forward Robert Franks leads the Pac-12 in scoring with 22.1 points per game, while UCLA sophomore guard Jaylen Hands leads the conference in assists per game with 6.9. USC center Nick Rakocevic has the most rebounds per game with 10.1.

Women’s basketball
Joy Hong, assistant Sports editor

With five teams ranked and 10 teams above .500 in overall record, every game in the Pac-12 can be a toss up this year.

UCLA women’s basketball (9-6, 2-1 Pac-12) upset then-No. 18 California 84-79 in overtime and fell to No. 6 Stanford (12-1, 2-0) by just six points last weekend.

Both the Cardinal and the Bears defeated the Trojans (10-4, 0-3), leaving USC to join Colorado and Washington with no conference wins so far.


(Isabelle Roy/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Unranked Arizona (12-2, 2-1) upset then-No. 19 Arizona State (11-3, 2-1) 51-39 after failing to beat its in-state rivals in all three meetings last season.

No. 5 Oregon (13-1, 2-0) has a win over then-No. 4 Mississippi State – which reached the national championship game last year. But the Ducks struggled against the Huskies before pulling away in the final quarter to win 84-71.

Besides already being a competitive conference, the Pac-12 could also be shaken up after notable injuries from last weekend.

Guard Kat Tudor from No. 10 Oregon State (12-2, 2-0), guard Daneesha Provo from Utah (13-1, 2-1) and forward Nadia Fingall from Stanford all suffered ACL injuries during the first weekend of Pac-12 play and will miss the remainder of the season.

Men’s volleyball
Gabriel McCarthy, assistant Sports editor

The Bruins began play as volleyball matches kicked off across the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

No. 2 UCLA men’s volleyball began the season last week with two wins over Princeton (0-4) and UC San Diego (0-2), winning 3-0 and 3-1, respectively. Transfer redshirt junior opposite Brandon Rattray and senior outside hitter Dylan Missry led the team with 29 and 23 kills, respectively. The Bruins will next travel to No. 12 CSUN (2-1).

Concordia (0-3) began the season losing all three matches played in the UCSB Asics Invitational, against CSUN, No. 1 Long Beach State (3-0) and No. 10 UC Santa Barbara (3-0). The Eagles were nearly swept in all three contests apart from taking one set against CSUN in their first match.


(Andy Bao/Daily Bruin)

No. 11 Stanford (2-0) took two wins against Menlo and UC Santa Cruz, sweeping both teams. The Cardinal are led by sophomore opposite Jaylen Jasper, who has posted 19 kills at 3.17 kills per set.

No. 15 Grand Canyon (1-2) was also swept by Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara in its first matches of the season but recorded a 3-2 win over CSUN in their third match of the season. It will next host Benedictine and Ottawa in Phoenix.

No. 5 Pepperdine (2-0) won both of its first matches of the season, including a 3-1 win over Princeton and a sweep of UCSD. It will play UCSB in two matches in three days before traveling to face No. 8 Loyola-Chicago.

No. 5 BYU (0-0) has yet to begin its season and will host No. 7 Ohio State and No. 14 Ball State this weekend.

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