Pac-10 Coaches Tab Stanford To Win Ninth Consecutive Conference Title

Oct. 24, 2008

STANFORD, Calif. - Receiving six first-place votes and 78 total points, eight-time defending conference champion and 2008 NCAA Championship finalist Stanford was voted the favorite to win the 2008-09 Pac-10 women's basketball title, according to a vote by the conference head coaches.

The Cardinal edged out California, who collected four first-place votes and 76 points to place second in the poll.

Rounding out the top five in the poll is Arizona State with 65 points, USC with 55 points and UCLA, who collected 48 points. Oregon nabbed sixth in the rating with 40 points, followed by Washington (27), Oregon State (25), Washington State (20) and Arizona (16).

The Cardinal advanced to the national championship game last season, winning a school-record 35 games, while also sweeping to its 17th conference regular-season crown and fifth Pac-10 Tournament title. Under the tutelage of Pac-10 Coach of the Year Tara VanDerveer, Stanford returns first-team All-Pac-10 pick Jayne Appel as well as the league's reigning Freshman of the Year in Kayla Pedersen.

Stanford also returns its starting backcourt of redshirt junior Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and junior JJ Hones, as well as key contributors in senior Jillian Harmon and sophomore Jeanette Pohlen.

The Bears also had a record season, winning a school-best 27 games and earning their first NCAA Tournament win since 1993. ASU advanced to the postseason for the fourth-straight year in 2008 and will be led by returning Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year Briann January. Two teams introduce new coaches this season - the Wildcats welcome Niya Butts to the sidelines and Nikki Caldwell enters her first season with the Bruins.

The Pac-10 had three teams earn NCAA Tournament bids last year, the sixth consecutive year in which at least three teams earned invites. It is the ninth straight year and ninth overall that Stanford has been picked to win the conference since the poll's inception in 1998-99.

Following are the results of the preseason coaches' poll; coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams (points 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, first-place votes are in parentheses).

2008-09 PAC-10 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COACHES' POLL

Team (First Place Votes) Points
1. Stanford (6) 78
2. California (4) 76
3. Arizona State 65
4. USC 55
5. UCLA 48
6. Oregon 40
7. Washington 27
8. Oregon State 25
9. Washington State 20
10. Arizona 16

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