Pac-12 Questions: The race for second-best player in Pac-12 & the arms race between Cal and Stanford

Carli Baker/Staff

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Who is the second best player in the conference behind Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike?

Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike has been a force this season, averaging 23.3 points per game and 11.9 rebounds per game. While the junior never won the Pac-12 Player of the Year honors due to her playing second fiddle to her sister Nnemkadi Ogwumike for the last two years, this looks like the season to win the award.

While Ogwumike has separated herself as the top talent, the debate remains as to which player is second-best in the conference.

Colorado’s Chucky Jeffery makes a strong case for herself, especially following her recent Pac-12 Player of the Week honors. Jeffery runs the show in Boulder and is a key reason why the Buffs are one of four Pac-12 schools ranked in the top 25 (No. 21). The senior averages 13.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.4 steals per game.

But Jeffrey’s ranks only eighth in scoring within the Pac-12 — the top three scorers are composed of Ogwumike, Washington’s super sophomore Jazmine Davis and USC’s Cassie Harberts.

Davis has improved upon her All-Pac-12 First Team season as a freshman, currently putting up 19.9 points per game and leading her team to fourth place in the conference standings. However, Davis shoots a measly 38.6 percent from the field and receives help from freshman up-and-comer Talia Walton, who’s been scoring 15 points per game.

Although Harberts ranks third in the conference with 17.9 points per game, the junior’s squad sits below .500 on the season, severely hurting her case for the accolade.

With one of the most impressive and all-around stat lines in the conference and a team vying for a Pac-12 title, Jeffery is definitely the second best player in the conference.

Austin Crochetiere

When will Cal and Stanford lose next?

The top two teams in the Pac-12 are not perfect teams. But as far as this conference is concerned, they’re pretty close.

Both the No. 6 Bears and the No. 4 Cardinal are 11-1 in the Pac-12, with their lone loss coming against each other in away games. They’re practically even outside the conference too, with Stanford having one more win than 21-2 Cal.

Looking at Stanford’s schedule, that’s not likely to change anytime soon. The Cardinal haven’t been seriously threatened since their Jan. 13 loss to Cal. They’ve won each contest since then by an average of 20.88 points. Stanford blew out the closest competition, No. 15 UCLA, by 26 points.

Cal has had plenty of close calls since. They just recently just pulled out a win against unranked Arizona.

The Bears’ next challenge will be in Los Angeles. A close five-point victory against UCLA and an overtime win against the Trojans in January mean this weekend will be a huge litmus test for Cal. If they can escape the weekend unscathed, don’t expect Cal to lose for the rest of the regular season.

If that’s the case, Cal and Stanford probably won’t lose until their likely meeting in the Pac-12 Championships. The Cardinal will still be slight favorites, but it’ll be the biggest challenge they face until they’re deep into March.

Vincent Tzeng