Jan 17, 2013

Undeafeated, unstoppable Lane women still ranked No. 1

NWAACC Women's Basketball

After a lackluster start to the preseason, we might have to start talking about Columbia Basin once more, as they've started Eastern Region play 3-1.  According to the RPI ratings, which were released by the league this week, Columbia Basin has played one of the toughest schedules of any team in the NWAACC. Much of that comes from playing in the Eastern Region, who has two ranked teams and two teams knocking on the door. The Northern Region, with their one ranked team, may be inching back into things with the strong play of Bellevue and the return of guard Brittany Barrington to the lineup after a month off the court, meaning that the South might finally have to give up one of their four spots in the next set of rankings. 

Be sure to check back in a week's time for Full Court Press, a bi-weekly roundup of NWAACC basketball action to fill in the gaps. Next week, instead of the normal format, it's dark horse week! Coaches rankings are in italics under each team's record. If you have a question or a comment feel free to leave it below, respond via twitter or send me an email.

Full Court Press: Dark Horse Week is now live online! Do you have a dark horse prediction? 

1. Lane Titans (18-0, 4-0 South)
No. 1 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 1, No. 1 coaches

Lane has started off the regular season as red hot as ever, winning their first four contests by wide margins, including a 16 point drubbing of No. 7 Chemeketa. Nobody scored more than the 79 points that ChCC put up, and nobody was able to hold Lane under 85 points, with Lane winning the first four games by an average of 28.25 points per game. It's hardly enough to say that Lane is by far the team to beat right now, and it seems as though they won't have much of a challenge in the Southern Region other than No. 3 Clackamas, whom they will face on Jan. 19 up in Oregon City. As detailed in last week's installment of  Full Court Press, the two matches between Lane and Clackamas could very well decide the champion of the high-powered South, so this is a big one. 


2. Walla Walla (15-1, 4-0 East)
No. 2 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 2, No. 2 coaches

The Walla Walla Warriors have now made it 14 wins in a row with four victories to start Eastern Region play. Wins over a somewhat resurgent Columbia Basin team and a decent Yakima Valley squad feel good, but Walla Walla has their work cut out for them in the always-tough Eastern Region. On Jan. 23 they face Spokane, who has been a tough match up as of late, and that begins a tough stretch of games for the Warriors. They then travel to face No. 5 Big Bend before coming back home to host Columbia Basin yet again. That game might not look big, but Walla Walla only beat CBC 59-54 [box] and Columbia Basin got four missed shots and three rebounds from their bench, and nothing else.

3. Clackamas (14-3, 4-0 South)
No. 3 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 3, No. 3 coaches

Looking at Clackamas' record, their three losses aren't much to hang their heads over. A four point loss to No. 1 Lane, a 62-55 [box] game to No.2 Walla Walla, and an early season 13 point slip up to No. 8 Umpqua, who at that time had guard Christal Jeff contributing big numbers. Since the loss to Lane on Dec. 9, Clackamas has won nine straight, and have the second highest opponent win percentage of any team ranked in the top ten. Right around the corner will be Clackamas' biggest chance to move up: a rematch with Lane, a team they haven't defeated since Dec. 11, 2011. All of those games have been within seven points, and four of the five matches have been decided by four points or less.


4. Centralia (12-3, 5-0 West)
No. 5 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 4, No. 4 coaches

The class of the Western Region, Centralia is again victim of the conference in which they play. Of all the ranked teams, they have the weakest schedule according to the RPI ratings, both looking ahead to the regular season, and looking at the teams they've played. That said, they have looked good against some big opponents, namely a 95-91 victory over No. 2 Walla Walla and a close 68-65 loss to No. 3 Clackamas. They will mop up in the Western Region, save a slough of injuries, but it seems that they do have the talent to stand toe-to-toe with some of the top NWAACC talent once the tournament rolls around. 


5. Big Bend (12-5, 2-1 East)
No. 5 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 4, No. 5 coaches

Coming off a tough few weeks with losses to No. 6 Whatcom, Tacoma and a rising team in Spokane, Big Bend seems to be back on form, with a win over Yakima Valley and Wenatchee Valley, who only just recently dropped from the rankings. Big Bend isn't a particularly tall club, but they get up and rebound, a definite key to their success. They are third in the league in rebounding with 51.7, first in total offensive rebounds, and if the league kept such stats, they would probably be very near the top in second chance points. They don't shoot well from the field, but they've had more opportunities than anybody but No. 1 Lane.


6. Whatcom (11-5, 4-0 North)
No. 7 Coaches
Previous ranking: NR, No. 8 coaches

Building on a solid win over No. 4 Big Bend, Whatcom has now won five games in a row, and while the Orcas do play in the relatively weak Northern Region, they have been blowing away their competition. That dominance stretches to both sides of the ball, as they have held teams to an average of just 45 points per contest, and have been putting up an average of 70.5. Whatcom's win over Big Bend might have lost some of it's significance because it came as part of a slurry of losses for the Vikings, but it was important nonetheless, as it was the first victory for Whatcom over a ranked team all year.


7. Chemeketa (9-8, 2-2 South)
NR Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 6, NR coaches

While just about every week is a challenge in the Southern Region, Chemeketa had a particularly difficult few weeks. They faced Wenatchee Valley (who was ranked 7th a week after the game), No. 1 Lane, No. 8 Umpqua, No. 3 Clackamas and No. 1 Lane. That's simply exhausting for any team, and the Storm should feel alright about going 2-3 over those five games. Things will slow down for Chemeketa for a few weeks where they won't see any ranked teams, but then they will have to face Lane and Clackamas back to back once again in the first few days of February.


8. Umpqua (13-4, 3-1 South)
No. 6 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 8, No. 6 coaches

It remains to be seen whether Umpqua will again become the team they were to start the season, but for the time being, they seem to have regained some of their confidence. After falling 62-54 [box] to No. 7 Chemeketa, they picked things up with a win over SW Oregon, who is still looking to break in to the playoff picture in the South. Umpqua then turned around and flattened Mt. Hood by 31, and a few days later outdistanced Linn-Benton by 50. Given, the last two wins are against teams that are a combined 6-25, but perhaps if Umpqua can build up some momentum, they can make a play for the second seed in the West, while maintaining their slight hold on the third.



  1. Not sure if the NWAACC was late posting or if you missed the results from yesterday.

  2. Top of the article says it is dated 17Jan13

  3. These rankings predate the last day's games. I went to watch the Lane v Clackamas games, and I'm already working on the next Full Court Press edition.