2016 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Media Day

Thursday, Oct. 20 | #Pac12WBB
TV: 11a / 12MT on Pac-12 Network

Coaches Tab UCLA to Win Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Title

UCLA Athletics

SAN FRANCISCO - For the first time since 2000, UCLA was voted first in the Pac-12 women’s basketball regular season, the Conference office announced on Thursday at Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day. The Bruins received eight first-place votes and 116 points for the top spot. STANFORD collected two first-place votes and 110 points for second place in the polling, followed by NCAA Final Four participant WASHINGTON. The Huskies picked up 93 points and two first-place votes to round out the top three.

The Conference has administered a preseason poll every year since it began sponsoring women’s sports in 1986-87. It is the third time in the history of the poll, based on information available (six years of data is missing), the Bruins were voted the preseason favorite by the coaches, the previous times coming in 2000 and 1999.

The Bruins had the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation two years ago and that class is now juniors. Under the direction of sixth-year head coach Cori Close, UCLA welcomes back three starters from last year’s squad that went to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 1999.

Both Stanford and Washington are coming off successful seasons, the Huskies ending 2015-16 in historic fashion. UW knocked off the Cardinal in the Lexington Regional finals of the NCAA Tournament to make its first-ever trip to the NCAA Final Four. The Cardinal has nine letterwinners from last year on the roster, including four starters. Among the starters is senior forward Erica McCall, who nearly averaged a double-double last season. The Huskies are led by senior Kelsey Plum, a national player of the year candidate and one of the most prolific scorers in Pac-12 history.

Reigning Pac-12 Co-Champions ARIZONA STATE and OREGON STATE finished fourth and fifth in the preseason poll. ASU captured its first title since 2000-01 and has three starters coming back, including leading scorer and rebounder senior Sophie Brunner. The Beavers are coming off a historic season that saw them reach their first-ever NCAA Final Four, claim its first-ever Pac-12 Tournament title and first-ever 30-win campaign. OSU lost an All-American, but welcomes back three-time All-Pac-12 honoree Sydney Weise.

Rounding out the top half of the poll with 71 points is CALIFORNIA which will be led by USBWA National Freshman of the Year Kristine Anigwe. OREGON was voted to finish seventh this season. Third-year head coach Kelly Graves signed the No. 3 class in the country to compliment the six returning letterwinners.

UTAH was eighth in the poll with 52 points. The Utes will be led by All-Pac-12 junior Emily Potter, who was listed as one of the top sophomores to watch by espnW last year. With 44 points, USC comes in ninth in the polling. The Trojans also have a strong recruiting class arriving on campus, ranked 12th in the nation.

WASHINGTON STATE tallied 31 points for 10th place. One of the taller teams in the country, the Cougs have sophomore Hristova Borislava returning this season. She was one of the top-10 freshmen scorers in the nation last year. COLORADO, 11th with 22 points, and ARIZONA, 12th with 14 points, enters 2016-17 under the direction of new head coaches, with JR Payne mentoring the Buffs, and former Pac-12 and Wildcat great Adia Barnes taking over in Tucson.

The Pac-12 is coming off its most historic women’s basketball season, claiming two teams in the NCAA Women’s Final Four. Five teams earned NCAA Tournament bids and league teams went 5-0 in the first round. Other firsts from last season included four teams in the Sweet 16 and three teams in the Elite Eight. The Conference also welcomes back eight of the 14 All-Pac-12 honorees and five top-20 recruiting classes.

Below are the results of the 2016 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).

2016-17 PAC-12 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL COACHES’ POLL

Team (First Place)

Points

UCLA (8)

116

Stanford (2)

110

Washington (2)

93

Arizona State

89

Oregon State

81

California

71

Oregon

69

Utah

52

USC

44

Washington State

31

Colorado

22

Arizona

14

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