Scott Rueck

Oregon State head coach Scott Rueck watched his team lose two straight Pac-12 games for the first time since 2014 when the Beavers were swept by UCAL and USC this past weekend.

Andy Cripe, Mid-Valley Media

It may only be four games into the Pac-12 women’s basketball season, but Oregon State’s quest for a fourth straight regular season title has hit a snag.

The Beavers dropped both games in Los Angeles this past weekend to fall to 2-2 in conference play and are already two games back of Oregon and Arizona State, which are both 4-0.

The good news for Oregon State is it gets to play those teams a combined three times in the next two weeks.

The Beavers (11-4 overall) host Arizona State at 6 p.m. Friday. After hosting Arizona on Sunday, they play a home-and-home with Oregon next weekend.

This past weekend was the first time the Beavers have lost back-to-back games since the 2013-14 season, which was also the last time they were swept in conference play — ironically at USC and UCLA.

Oregon State went on to win 11 of its last 13 Pac-12 games that season and reached the conference tournament title game where it lost to USC.

Arizona State (13-3) and Oregon (15-2) are coming off big wins on Sunday against ranked opponents.

The Sun Devils handed Stanford a 73-66 setback, the Cardinal’s first of the conference season.

Later on, Oregon went into UCLA and ended the Bruins’ 20-game home Pac-12 win streak with a 70-61 victory.

It was the first time the Ducks have ever swept the L.A. schools on the road and the 4-0 start in conference play is the best since the 2001-02 season.

“To me, that’s quite something,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “That says something about these guys. UCLA is a great team. That's a team that can go to the Final Four. To stand up to them toe-to-toe I think says something about us. Excited to be 4-0 but the reality is we'll enjoy it and (Monday) we're thinking Arizona. That's all now that matters.”

Utah (12-3) has also jumped out to a fast start at 3-1 and picked up its first ever Pac-12 road sweep when the Utes hit two free throws with 0.5 seconds left to top Washington State 81-79 on Sunday.

Their lone loss was 83-81 at home to ASU in the opening weekend.

UCLA (11-4), California (11-4) and Colorado (11-4) are all 2-2 and tied with Oregon State for fifth. USC (11-4) and Washington State (8-8) are tied for ninth and Arizona (4-11) and Washington (6-9) are still looking for their first conference wins.

Poll watch

Oregon moved up one spot to No. 8 in this week’s Associated Press poll, the highest ranking in program history.

UCLA remained at No. 14 while Arizona State moved up from 25th to No. 18.

Oregon State dropped six spots from 16 to 22 while California fell one spot to No. 24 after splitting with the Arizona schools.

Stanford, who was back in the top 25 after being out a week, fell out again and is 27th.

Utah also received three votes.

Players of the week

Washington State’s Borislava Hristova was named the conference’s player of the week after averaging 32.5 points and five rebounds a game in a split with the Mountain schools.

Hristova, a sophomore forward, missed the first two Pac-12 games with an injury.

Stanford guard Kiana Williams was named the freshman of the week after averaging 13 points per game in a split in the desert.

This week

The Arizona schools are at the Oregon schools this week while the Washington schools head to the Bay Area. The L.A. schools head to the Colorado and Utah.

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Sports Editor

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

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