Stanford Picked First in Women's Basketball Coaches Poll

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WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Garnering the maximum number of points (81) and first-place votes (9) for the second-straight year, STANFORD is the coaches' pick to win the Pac-10 women's basketball title. Receiving one first-place vote and 73 points was UCLA to place second in the polling, its highest since being picked to win the league in 1998.

The 10-time defending Pac-10 regular-season champion Cardinal are coming off a third-straight trip to the NCAA Final Four, reaching the national title game for the second time in three years. Head coach Tara VanDerveer, who is entering her 25th season at Stanford, returns 11 letterwinners, including All-American and 2010 Pac-10 Player of the Year JR F Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Cypress, Texas). She also returns two more All-Pac-10 honorees in SR F Kayla Pedersen (Fountain Hills, Ariz.) and SR G Jeanette Pohlen (Brea, Calif.).

Under then-second year head coach and 2010 Pac-10 Coach of the Year Nikki Caldwell, the Bruins returned to the NCAA Tournament after a three-year absence, advancing to the second round. Caldwell also welcomes back a pair of All-Pac-10 honorees (JR F Jasmine Dixon and SR G Dorenna Campbell), and nine letterwinners overall. Last season's second-place finish in the Pac-10 standings was UCLA's best since 1999.

Rounding out the top-three in the Pac-10 Coaches poll is USC, receiving 61 points. With eight letterwinners back in 2010-11, including Pac-10 Co-Defensive Player of the Year JR G Briana Gilbreath (Katy, Texas) and All-Pac-10 honoree JR G Ashley Corral (Vancouver, Wash.), the Trojans look to be a strong contender.

CALIFORNIA went 24-13 and 11-7 in the Pac-10 to finish fourth last year and were voted fourth in this year's coaches poll (60 points). The Golden Bears capped the 2009-10 campaign claiming the WNIT crown and return seven letterwinners from that squad. Meanwhile, ARIZONA STATE was picked to finish fifth in the Pac-10 standings after garnering 49 points. The first time in seven years the Sun Devils finished outside of the top three in the standings, ASU looks to rebound with help from 2009 All-Pac-10 honoree Dymond Simon (Phoenix, Ariz.), who is returning from a season-ending knee injury.

After winning the most games since 2004-05 going 18-16 and 7-11 in the Pac-10, OREGON was picked sixth by the coaches with 37 points, followed by ARIZONA (36), who also returns a pair of All-Pac-10 honorees, including 2010 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Davellyn Whyte (Phoenix, Ariz.)

WASHINGTON and WASHINGTON were tied for eighth in the polling, after garnering 22 points apiece. Both the Huskies and Cougars look forward to more experienced experienced squads with each returning four starters. OREGON STATE, who is under the direction of new head coach Scott Rueck, was picked 10th (9).

It is the 11th-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. UCLA (1) 73
3. USC 61
4. California 60
5. Arizona State 49
6. Oregon 37
7. Arizona 36
8. Washington 22
  Washington State 22
10. Oregon State 9

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