Feb 13, 2013

Clackamas women still undefeated in region

NWAACC Women's Basketball

Looking at the overall league stats, it's easy to see what each region excels at. Offense belongs to the South, where Lane, Umpqua, Clackamas and SW Oregon take up the top four slots in scoring average. The East is strong defensively. You don't see teams scoring over 80 points, unless you're looking in a mirror and you happen to be Walla Walla, who seems to have escaped the offensive woes of the Eastern Region. The North is all tied up: three teams are vying for the top spot, all tied at 8-2 on the season. The West seems to belong to Centralia, who have already  clinched a playoff spot, and can secure a region championship with one more victory.

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. 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. Clackamas (20-3, 10-0 South)
No. 1 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 1, No. 2 coaches

Right now, Clackamas is in position to be the first Southern Region team since Lane in 2008 to go undefeated in region play. In fact, only five teams have accomplished that feat since 2002, and looking forward easily the largest obstacle Clackamas has is the trip to visit No. 2 Lane on February 16th. As far as the top seed in the South is concerned, Clackamas would have to lose twice in order to fall to second, and with four games remaining, that chance is fairly small. The Cougars take on Mt. Hood (2-19, 0-10 South) and Portland (3-17, 2-8 South) in the final few weeks, as well as Umpqua, who hasn't had anywhere near the brilliant performances we saw early in the season. 


2. Lane (22-2, 8-2 South)
No. 2 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 3, No. 1 coaches

Lane's loss to Clackamas on the road doesn't count as much of an upset. Their 67-63 [box] loss to Chemeketa on February definitely does, as Lane was held more than 20 points below their league-leading 86 points per game average. Now with two losses in region play, Lane will have to win out in order to hold off Chemeketa, who sits just one game behind the Titans in the region standings. That said, Lane is still very much a team to fear. Their depth and balance on both ends of the floor will serve them very, very well leading into the tournament, where they could very easily be a finals contender.


3. Walla Walla (20-3, 9-2 East)
No. 3 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 3, No. 3 coaches

With another painful loss, Walla Walla failed for the second time in a row to go undefeated the entire period between rankings. This go round, Yakima Valley was the culprit, pulling off a 56-50 [box] home victory over the Warriors, who now hold a very slim lead in the East over No. 8 Columbia Basin. The best offensive team in a largely defensive conference, Walla Walla still doesn't quite have the scoring numbers that some of the flashy Southern Region teams have, but they have proven that they may have one of the best defenses in the league. Example? Since the start of the regular season, the Warriors haven't allowed more than 56 points in a contest.


4. Centralia (19-4, 12-1 West)
No. 4 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 4, No. 4 coaches

Centralia has won four in a row following their blowout loss to Lower Columbia, and Kristen Schoenherr is back on the court. Schoenherr went just 2-8 from the field for eight points in her return, but things have picked back up since then, and Centralia has returned to blowing their opponents out by 32 (Pierce), 20 (Tacoma) and 41 (Greys Harbor). However good the Blazers have looked, we still have yet to see how Centralia will fare outside of the Western Region, where  they have found hard times in the past. The tournament will answer many of those questions, but by that point, it's too late.


5. Chemeketa (14-9, 7-3 South)
No. 6 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 6, No. 8 coaches

Chemeketa has faced some extremely tough competition in the last few weeks. They blew out Umpqua, who was incredible to start the season, and then ran into a buzz saw at Clackamas and lost by nearly 30 points. That's when things turned in Chemeketa's favor. Down two games to Lane, it seemed as though Chemeketa would have to resign themselves to the third seed in the South, simply buried under two lights-out teams. At least, that was until the Storm went out and upset No.  2 Lane and crept to within just one game of the Titans. The window is still open for Chemeketa, as Lane will play No. 1 Clackamas again, and Chemeketa faces the bottom four teams in the region to finish the season.


6. Skagit Valley (15-7, 8-2 North)
No. 5 Coaches
Previous ranking: NR, NR coaches

A bubble team for last week's rankings, Skagit Valley stepped up with a big 3-0 week, knocking off then No. 5 Whatcom, as well as racing past Edmonds and beating out Peninsula, adding to their streak of seven consecutive wins. A streak like that makes them easily the hottest team from the Northern Region, and as there are three squads tied at the top of the North, momentum is going to be... well... monumental. SVC will face one of the three tied teams before the season is over, a home game against Bellevue, whom they have defeated once this season already.


7. Whatcom (14-7, 8-2 North)
No. 8 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 5, No. 7 coaches

As was mentioned in SVC's bio, Whatcom is one of three teams tied at 8-2 for first place in the Northern Region. It was a loss to surging Skagit Valley that dropped them in to such a tie, a game that was somewhat of an oddity because Whatcom actually used more players than their opponent. For much of the season, Whatcom's tiny roster has been enough to do the trick, but coming down the final stretch, it will be interesting to see whether their relative lack of depth will start to truely hinder them. One thing for sure, that will make the tournament incredibly rough for that starting five. 


8. Columbia Basin (12-11, 8-3 East)
No. 7 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 7, No. 5 coaches

After a regular season that started so brightly, Columbia Basin has had a tough few weeks, going 2-2 with losses to No. 3 Walla Walla and Wenatchee Valley. The loss  to WWCC is understandable, as the Warriors are undoubtedly the best team in the East. The slip up with WVC is fairly confusing. The numbers all add up. 56% from the free throw line and 33% from the field won't get you far, and neither will being badly out boarded. That's not the weird part. The strange thing is where it had come from. A week removed from playing Walla Walla so close, Columbia Basin falls to a team that is 3-8 in region?


1 comment:

  1. Mr Howard- With the South and East matching up in the first round, interested in your predictions on which Division wins.
    IMO- you will find out why CBC falls to WVC as the depth of the east is unmatched. 4-0 east
    Enjoy your work!