Women's basketball coaches pick overwhelming favorite to win Pac-12 in 2013-14

SAN FRANCISCO -- For the 13th year in a row, STANFORD was voted the preseason favorite by the Pac-12 women’s basketball coaches to win the Conference title in 2013-14, Commissioner Larry Scott announced today at Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day held at the Pac-12 Networks Studios in San Francisco. The Cardinal collected 121 points and 11 first-place votes to earn the distinction. Receiving one first-place vote and picked to finish second in the polling was CALIFORNIA (111), with COLORADO rounding out the top three with 91 points.

Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer and the Cardinal welcome back 10 letterwinners, including the Pac-12 Player of the Year and All-American senior Chiney Ogwumike. Though Stanford missed out on a sixth-consecutive trip to the NCAA Women’s Final Four last season, it has posted six-straight 30-plus win campaigns and captured at least a share of the Pac-12 regular-season title 13 years in a row, while winning the conference tournament crown seven-straight years.

The Golden Bears are coming off the most successful campaign in the program’s history, earning a share of its first-ever Conference regular-season crown last year and a first-ever trip to the NCAA Women’s Final Four. Cal, which also won a team-record 32 games in 2012-13, returns seven starters, including national player of the year candidates Brittany Boyd and Gennifer Brandon.

The Buffs also boasted a successful season in 2012-13, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004. The Buffs will be led by Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Arielle Roberson. Not to be left out of the mix is WASHINGTON, who was voted fourth in the polling with 85 points. The Huskies, under the direction of first-year head coach Mike Neighbors, posted back-to-back 20-win campaigns for the first time since 1993-94 and 1994-95. UW will look to Jazmine Davis, the 2012 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and 2013 All-Pac-12 honoree.

UCLA garnered 80 points to place fifth in the poll. The Bruins return nine letterwinners, including All-Pac-12 performer Atonye Nyingifa, from a squad that last year advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years. With 77 points, USC is sixth in the poll. The Trojans will look to hall of famer Cynthia Cooper and 11 letterwinners to get to their first NCAA Tournament since 2006.

UTAH had 59 points for seventh place in the poll. Though the Utes lost half of their post presence in Taryn Wicijowski, they still return All-Pac-12 honoree Michelle Plouffe. OREGON STATE placed eighth in the poll and look to bounce back from an injury-plagued season. After going 10 years without a win in the postseason Conference Tournament, WASHINGTON STATE has posted victories in back-to-back tournaments and look to build on that success. The Cougars were picked to finish ninth with 50 points.

Rounding out the polling is ARIZONA STATE in 10th (29 points), ARIZONA (21 points) in 11th and OREGON (17 points) in 12th place. The Sun Devils have an experienced starting lineup with four starters returning; the Wildcats also have four starters but will try to make up for the loss of four-time all-conference performer Davellyn Whyte; and the Ducks be anchored by one of the top rebounders in the nation in sophomore Jillian Alleyne.

A Pac-12 preseason coaches’ poll has been administered every season since the Conference began sponsoring the sport in 1986-87. Following are the results of the 2013 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).

2013-14 PAC-12 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COACHES' POLL

Team Points First place votes
1. Stanford 121 11
2. California 111 1
3. Colorado 91  
4. Washington 85  
5. UCLA 80  
6. USC 77  
7. Utah 59  
8. Oregon State 51  
9. Washington State 50  
10. Arizona State 29  
11. Arizona 21  
12. Oregon 17