Pac-12 record six women's basketball teams preseason ranked
SAN FRANCISCO - A Pac-12 record-tying six women’s basketball teams are ranked in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches poll, which was released today by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). No other conference had more teams appearing in the top 25, with UCLA and STANFORD leading the league at No. 7 and No. 9, respectively.
The six Pac-12 teams ranked in the preseason coaches poll is the most since the 2006-07 campaign. During the 10-year span since setting the record, the Conference had just two teams ranked three times, three teams in the poll four times and twice had four teams in the preseason ranking. Last year, the Pac-12 started the campaign with five teams in the coaches poll.
All six teams ranked in the poll received NCAA Tournament bids last year. The Conference had a record seven teams earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Pac-12 teams were 7-0 in the first round of the national championship and have combined for a perfect 12-0 over the last two seasons in the opening round.
It is setting up to be another exciting race in the Pac-12, which has owned the No. 1 conference RPI the last two seasons. UCLA’s No. 7 preseason ranking is its highest since being ranked No. 6 in 1999. The Pac-12’s preseason favorite as voted on by the league’s coaches, the Bruins are coming off back-to-back NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances for the first time in the history of the program.
Ranked No. 9, Stanford is making its 18th all-time appearance in the polling. The Cardinal advanced to the NCAA Women’s Final Four last year for the seventh time in 10 years after winning its 12th Pac-12 Tournament crown. Hall of Fame head coach Tara VanDerveer, who claimed her 1,000th-career victory last year, led Stanford to its 14th 30-win campaign.
Just out of the top-10 is OREGON, earning a No. 11 rating. It is the first time the Ducks have been ranked in the preseason poll since the 1999-2000 season. UO advanced to its first-ever NCAA Elite Eight last year after having received its first bid in 12 years.
OREGON STATE makes its fourth-straight showing in the preseason poll, coming in at No. 17. The two-time defending Pac-12 regular season champion was ninth in the final poll last season after advancing to its fourth-straight NCAA Tournament. The Beavers have made back-to-back Sweet Sixteen appearances, also a first for the program.
CALIFORNIA and WASHINGTON are tied for 25th in the national poll. The Golden Bears made a return to the NCAA Tournament last year after missing out in 2015-16. Cal won its first-round game but was eliminated in the next round. The Huskies were in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the second-straight year last year.
ARIZONA STATE received votes in the poll. The Sun Devils earned a NCAA Tournament bid for the fourth-straight year last year.
For the full USA Today/WBCA Coaches poll, visit www.wbca.org or usatoday.com. The 2017-18 season officially tips off on Friday, Nov. 10. For the full schedule, television schedule and the latest news, visit pac-12.com.