UCLA Women's Basketball tops Preseason Poll
SAN FRANCISCO - For the second-consecutive year, UCLA was voted first in the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Coaches Poll, the Conference office announced on Wednesday at Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day. The Bruins collected 115 points and seven first-place votes to earn the top spot ahead of OREGON and STANFORD who tied for second place with 108 points each. The Pac-12 is coming off another historic season where a league-record seven teams earned NCAA Tournament bids in 2016-17.
The Conference has administered a preseason poll every year since it began sponsoring women’s sports in 1986-87.
UCLA returns All-American candidates Jordin Canada and Monique Billings, who led the team to a second-straight NCAA Sweet 16 last season. It was the first time the Bruins had made back-to-back NCAA Sweet 16 appearances in the history of the program.
The Ducks received three first-place votes in the poll. It is the highest the team has been voted since the 2000-01 campaign. UO have all five starters coming back, including the national freshman of the year Sabrina Ionescu, from a team that advanced to the program’s first-ever NCAA Elite Eight. The defending Pac-12 Tournament Champion Cardinal has two first-place votes and also have the majority of the team back for this season after making its 13th all-time NCAA Final Four appearance last year.
Three-time Pac-12 regular-season champion OREGON STATE was voted to finish fourth with 85 points, edging out CALIFORNIA who posted 83 points. Both teams received NCAA Tournament berths, the Golden Bears going back after missing out in 2015-16, led by All-American candidate and the 2015-16 national freshman of the year Kristine Anigwe.
Sixth in the poll is ARIZONA STATE with 74 points. The Sun Devils have been to the NCAA Tournament four years in a row. Only one other time in program history has ASU accomplished such a feat. WASHINGTON STATE was voted to finish seventh in the poll, its best showing in the preseason coaches poll since 2011-12.
Mark Trakh returns to Galen Center for his second stint at the helm, as USC is predicted to place eighth in the league with 47 points. Following the Trojans is UTAH in ninth (40 points) and COLORADO in 10th (38 points). Both teams have seasoned veterans to depend on in the Utes’ Emily Potter and the Buffs’ Kennedy Leonard.
Rounding out the polling is ARIZONA with 20 points and WASHINGTON with 13. The Wildcats have just three letter winners back in 2016-17 and the Huskies are under the direction of first-year head coach Jody Wynn.
Pac-12 women’s basketball has recorded back-to-back historic seasons, sending two teams to the NCAA Women’s Final Four for the first time ever in 2015-16 and followed up with a Conference-record seven teams with NCAA Tournament bids. At least one Pac-12 team has reached the national semifinal round in nine of the last 10 years.
Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day takes place today at Pac-12 Headquarters in San Francisco. Pac-12 Network will air a live special beginning at 11 a.m. PT and will include interviews from student-athletes and head coaches from all 12 institutions, as well as an in-depth preview of the season to come.
The women’s basketball campaign officially tips off on Friday, Nov. 10. Visit pac-12.com for the full schedule.
Below are the results of the 2017 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).
2017-18 PAC-12 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL COACHES’ POLL
|Team (First Place)||Points|