Coaches Pick Defending Champion Stanford to Win Pac-10 Women's Basketball Title

Oct. 22, 2009

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - In a near unanimous vote, receiving nine first-place votes and 81 total points, nine-time defending Conference champion and 2009 NCAA Final Four participant STANFORD was voted the clear favorite to win the 2009-10 Pac-10 women's basketball title, according to a vote by the Conference head coaches.

The number two through four spots in the poll were very close, with only four points separating the teams. CALIFORNIA was picked second in the voting with 67 points, ARIZONA STATE received one first-place vote and 64 points for third, and UCLA was fourth in the poll with 63 points.

With 48 points, USC rounded out the top five in the poll, followed by WASHINGTON STATE with 33 points, OREGON STATE with 29 points and OREGON with 23 points. ARIZONA placed ninth in the voting, garnering 22 points, while WASHINGTON was 10th with 20 points.

The Cardinal advanced to the NCAA Final Four for the second-straight year in 2008-09 and this season return all but one starter and 13 letterwinners overall. The Golden Bears tied for second in the Pac-10 last year and reached its first-ever NCAA Sweet Sixteen, while ASU, despite the loss of starter Dymond Simon, went to the NCAA Elite Eight for the second time in three years.

The Bruins enter Year Two of the Nikki Caldwell era, where last year she led the team to its best start in almost 30 years. The Women of Troy look to build on a successful run in the Pac-10 Tournament, reaching last year's finals, and have a new head coach in Michael Cooper at the helm to lead the way.

WSU has a young team with no returning seniors and will be led by a pair of sophomores. OSU is coming off its first 20-win campaign in 15 years and a trip to the WNIT. The Ducks welcome a new head coach, as well, as Paul Westhead roams the sidelines bringing with him over 20 years of coaching experience at the men's collegiate and WNBA levels.

The Wildcats return a solid cast, led by first team All-Pac-10 performer Ify Ibekwe, while the Huskies bring back an experienced squad featuring four starters from last year's team and 11 letterwinners overall.

The Pac-10 had three teams earn NCAA Tournament bids last year, the seventh-consecutive year at least three league squads earned invites. It is the 10th-straight year Stanford has been picked the favorite to win the league 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).



  Team (First Place) Points
1. Stanford (9) 81
2. California 67
3. Arizona State (1) 64
4. UCLA 63
5. USC 48
6. Washington State 33
7. Oregon State 29
8. Oregon 23
9. Arizona 22
10. Washington 20

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