By the Pac-12 Conference
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- STANFORD was voted the preseason favorite by the Pac-12 women’s basketball coaches to win the Pac-12 title in 2012-13, Commissioner Larry Scott announced today at Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day held at the Pac-12 Networks Studios in San Francisco. Collecting a maximum number of points (121) and first-place votes (11), the Cardinal earn the honor for the 12th year in a row. Receiving one first-place vote and picked to finish second in the polling was CALIFORNIA (109), with UCLA rounding out the top-three with 100 points.
Under the direction of 27-year head coach and Naismith Hall of Famer Tara VanDerveer, the Cardinal has won the Conference’s regular-season crown in each of the last 12 years. Coming off a fifth-consecutive NCAA Final Four appearance, VanDerveer welcomes back another talented squad, led by All-American junior Chiney Ogwumike (Cypress, Texas).
The Golden Bears return nearly every starter from last season’s squad that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. This year’s senior class was ranked the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation four years ago and now looks to wrap up a successful collegiate campaign.
Led by second-year head coach Cori Close, UCLA suffered through several key injuries last year and looks to improve upon a fifth-place showing with the help of senior forward Markel Walker, an All-Pac-12 performer, as well as redshirt senior Jasmine Dixon, who missed all of last year with an injury.
USC is fourth in the coaches polling, tallying 91 points. The Trojans have not finished lower than fourth over the last five years. ARIZONA STATE and OREGON STATE tied for fifth with 67 points each to round out the top half of the poll. The Sun Devils welcome the return of head coach Charli Turner Thorne, while the Beavers look to build off a successful season that saw them record their highest finish in the standings in four years.
Returning their top-two scorers and rebounders, UTAH garnered 56 points, good for seventh place in the poll. WASHINGTON, led by the 2012 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Jazmine Davis, collected 54 points for eighth. COLORADO (49) is ninth in the polling. The Buffs will be led by senior Chucky Jeffery, a versatile player that posted a triple-double on the final day of the season.
With 40 points, WASHINGTON STATE was 10th in the polling, followed by OREGON with 20 points, and ARIZONA collected 18 points. The Cougars have three starters back and look to bounce back from an injury-plagued season. The Ducks will have a young team and are faced with the task of replacing an All-Pac-12 performer. The Wildcats also welcome back three-time all-conference honoree senior Davellyn Whyte.
A Pac-12 preseason coaches’ poll has been administered since the 1998-99 season. Following are the results of the 2012 Pac-12 preseason coaches’ poll; coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams (points: 11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, first-place votes in parentheses).
2011-12 PAC-12 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL COACHES’ POLL
Team (First Place) Points
1. Stanford (11) 121
2. California (1) 109
3. UCLA 100
4. USC 91
5. Arizona State 67
Oregon State 67
7. Utah 56
8. Washington 54
9. Colorado 49
10. Washington State 40
11. Oregon 20
12. Arizona 18