Stanford picked by coaches to win Pac-12 in 2014-15
SAN FRANCISCO - For the 15th year in a row, Stanford was voted the preseason favorite by the Pac-12 women’s basketball coaches to win the Conference regular-season title in 2014-15, 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 116 points and seven first-place votes to earn the distinction. California and Oregon State followed closely behind in the voting. The Golden Bears earned 111 points, receiving three first-place votes, and the Beavers netted 105 points, garnering two first-place votes. The point margin for first was the closest it has been since the 2008-2009 poll.
Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer and the Cardinal come off a 2013-14 campaign where it reached the NCAA Women’s Final Four. This year Stanford welcomes back 12 letterwinners, but will be without Pac-12 Player of the Year and All-American Chiney Ogwumike, who departed as the WNBA’s first overall draft pick. Stanford has reached the national semifinal in seven of the last eight seasons and has posted seven-straight 30-plus win campaigns. The Cardinal has captured at least a share of the Pac-12 regular-season title 14 years in a row, while winning the tournament crown in seven of the last eight years.
The Golden Bears have reached the postseason nine-straight years, including seven NCAA Tournament appearances, and six Pac-12 finishes of third place or better during that span. The Bears return seven letterwinners, including three starters. Senior guards Brittany Boyd and forward Reshanda Gray return to bolster the Cal offense, after leading the Golden Bears as the team’s top two scorers a year ago.
The Beavers rebounded from a 2012-13 season where they finished 10-21 to finish 24-11, also earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996. Oregon State’s 24 wins doubled its win total from the year before and also tied for the most in program history, a record set in 1982-83. The Beavers return all five starters and nine total letterwinners. Guard Sydney Wiese enters her sophomore season after averaging 14.3 points and setting a school record with 112 made three-pointers as a freshman. The Beavers third-place finish in the poll is their highest rank in the coaches poll since the Conference began sponsoring women’s basketball in 1986-87 (from available information).
Not to be left out of the mix is UCLA, who was voted fourth in the polling with 84 points. The Bruins struggled with injuries last season, but return seven letterwinners, including junior guard Nirra Fields, who ranked 10th in the Pac-12 in points per game last season averaging 17.3 ppg.
Washington garnered 72 points to place fifth in the poll. The Huskies return nine letterwinners, including three-time All-Pac-12 performer Jazmine Davis, who ranks fourth all-time in UW program history with 1,752 points. With 65 points, USC is sixth in the poll. The Trojans will look to pick up where they left off after they won four games in four days to clinch USC’s first ever Pac-12 Tournament crown to earn the Trojans’ first NCAA Tournament berth since 2006.
ARIZONA STATE had 64 points for seventh place in the poll. The Sun Devils return 10 letterwinners from a 2013-14 squad that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and finished fourth in the Conference. Washington State placed eighth in the poll (56 points) and looks to build off a season where it earned a trip to the WNIT, its first postseason birth since 1991, and notched four wins over ranked teams. Oregon finished ninth in the poll with 48 points and new head coach Kelly Graves will work with a team that returns 10 letterwinners and led the nation in scoring.
Rounding out the polling is Colorado in 10th (31 points), Utah (28 points) in 11th and Arizona (12 points) in 12th place. The Buffaloes will have to find someone to fill in for the All-Pac-12 honorable mention honoree, Arielle Roberson, who will miss this season with an ACL injury. The Utes get back redshirt senior forward Taryn Wicijowski and redshirt sophomore Paige Crozon, who both return after being sidelined with injuries. The Wildcats get redshirt senior forward Alli Gloyd back, who started ever game in 2012-13, but missed last season due to injury.
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 2014 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).
|Team (First Place)||Points|
|1. Stanford (7)||116|
|2. California (3)||111|
|3. Oregon State (2)||105|
|7. Arizona State||64|
|8. Washington State||56|