Kelly Graves and Scott Rueck both spoke out this past weekend about their displeasure with playing their rivalry games back to back.

It’s nothing new for either coach as this is the sixth women’s basketball season the Pac-12 has scheduled those games in the same week.

“No, I don’t like it,” Graves, Oregon’s fourth-year coach, said after his Ducks earned a split of the Civil War series on Sunday night with a 75-63 win at home.

“I think it’s too bad. I think a game like this, it’s nice to have a lot of buildup. But that’s when they tell us we have to play so we play and I don’t complain. But you asked me my opinion.”

Rueck, in his eighth season at Oregon State, has often made his feeling known heading into the Civil War week.

While he’s not a fan, Rueck isn’t sure exactly what the conference can do with the women’s Pac-12 tournament being a week before the men’s to give it as much attention as possible.

“There’s no time to put another game, unless you put three games in one week, which would be crazy,” Rueck said. “I’m not sure, I think we’re a little bit handcuffed and so this is what it is for now.”

Last season, Washington and Washington State split their rivalry games, opting to open the Pac-12 season three days earlier than the rest of the conference teams.

That meant they both had to play three games in six games. The Huskies and Cougars played at the Oregon schools last year after facing each other the first time.

One idea would be to start the conference season a week earlier, but that would mean beginning prior to or around Christmas.

“I think there would be a lot of opposition towards that because these games matter so much, you want to be at your best,” Rueck said.

Count Rueck as one who isn’t on board with that option as the Northwest Conference did that when he was coaching at George Fox.

“I didn’t like it because you’re just not what you’re going to be,” he said.

Logjam at the top

At 6-1 in conference play, Oregon has a one-game lead over Stanford and UCLA for the top spot in the standings.

Oregon State, Utah, California and Arizona State are all knotted for fourth at 5-3. USC fell to 3-5 after being swept this weekend and is a game ahead of Colorado and Washington State, who are in ninth at 2-6.

Washington and Arizona each picked up their first conference wins this past week and are tied for last.

Poll watch

Oregon State moved up one spot to No. 17 in the Associated Press poll after splitting with Oregon, which remained at No. 7.

UCLA is No. 13 after sweeping the Bay Area schools while Cal fell two spots to No. 23. Arizona State dropped three spots to No. 25.

Stanford was one point shy of making the top 25 and comes in at No. 26 while Utah received two points.

Players of the week

UCLA’s Monique Billings was named the conference’s player of the week after averaging 16 points and 13 rebounds with five blocks and three steals in a sweep of the Bay Area schools.

Utah’s Tori Williams was the freshman of the week after averaging 12.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in a road sweep of the Arizona schools. It was her first honor.

Bracektology

ESPN Bracketolgy guru Charlie Creme has seven Pac-12 teams in his most recent bracket for the NCAA tournament.

Oregon is a No. 2 seed in the Spokane Regional and UCLA is a No. 3 seed in the Lexington Regional and would host the first and second rounds.

Cal is a No. 5 seed and Oregon State a No. 6 seed in the Kansas City Regional; Stanford is a No. 7 seed and USC a No. 9 seed in the Albany Regional; and Arizona State is a 8 seed in the Lexington Regional.

Creme has Oregon State heading to Knoxville, Tennessee, to face Dayton in the first round with No. 3 seed Tennessee facing Drake.  

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Sports editor of the Albany Democrat-Herald and Corvallis Gazette-Times

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