Media selects UCLA to win Pac-12 women's basketball title
SAN FRANCISCO - In a polling of media members who cover Pac-12 women’s basketball, UCLA was voted to win the 2017-18 Pac-12 regular-season title, the Conference office announced today. The Bruins received 242 points and 14 first-place votes to grab the top spot. OREGON edged out STANFORD for second place in the poll, collecting 226 points with four first-place votes, while the Cardinal received three first-place votes and 224 points.
Also announced was the five-person Preseason All-Pac-12 team, also voted on by the media. CALIFORNIA junior Kristine Anigwe and Bruin senior Jordin Canada appear on the preseason squad again, and are joined by senior Monique Billings of UCLA, and the Ducks’s Sabrina Ionescu, the USBWA National Freshman of the Year last year, and sophomore teammate Ruthy Hebard.
The media agreed with the Pac-12 women’s basketball coaches which voted UCLA to win the Pac-12 crown, an announcement made in October at Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day. Led by Canada and Billings, UCLA has nine letterwinners from a team that advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the second-straight year, the first time in the history of the program it has made consecutive appearances in the round of 16.
The Ducks made their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 12 years last year and, led by Ionescu and Hebard, advanced to the program’s first-ever NCAA Elite Eight. Oregon returns all five starters this season and nine letterwinners in all.
Defending Pac-12 Tournament Champion Stanford returns a solid corp from last season with 10 letterwinners back. The Cardinal is coming off its 13th all-time NCAA Women’s Final Four appearance and are led by Hall of Fame head coach Tara VanDerveer, who became just the third head coach in NCAA Division I men’s or women’s basketball history to win 1,000 games.
Three-time defending Pac-12 regular-season champion OREGON STATE is fourth in the poll with 168 points. Other than Stanford, the Beavers are the only program in Pac-12 history to win three-consecutive regular-season league crowns. Aiming for a fourth title and fifth-straight NCAA Tournament bid, head coach Scott Rueck welcomes back seven letterwinners from last year’s squad.
California was just behind OSU for fifth in the poll with 165 points. Back in the NCAA Tournament last year after missing out two seasons ago, the Golden Bears have four starters back, including Anigwe. ARIZONA STATE was picked to finish sixth, collecting 147 points. The Sun Devils have not finished lower than fifth the last four years and have made four-straight tournament appearances. ASU looks to maintain that consistency with the return of seven letterwinners.
WASHINGTON STATE was picked to finish seventh in the poll with 129 points, its highest predicted finish since 2009-10. USC garnered 101 points for eighth place. The Trojans are under the direction of head coach Mark Trakh who returns for his second stint in Los Angeles in six years. UTAH is eighth in the poll with 81 points. The Utes welcome back senior Emily Potter, an All-Pac-12 selection two years ago.
COLORADO (72), ARIZONA (50) and WASHINGTON (33) round out the bottom three spots in the polling. The Buffs went deep into the WNIT last season with the help of All-Pac-12 honoree Kennedy Leonard, who is back for her junior campaign. The Wildcats are looking forward to Year 2 under head coach Adia Barnes. Barnes brings in eight newcomers this season, while the Huskies are under the direction of a new head coach in Jody Wynn.
The Pac-12 is coming off back-to-back historic seasons, advancing two teams to the NCAA Women’s Final Four for the first time ever in 2016 and following up with a league-record seven NCAA Tournament teams last season. Pac-12 teams have gone a combined 12-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament the last two years, advancing at least one team to the national semifinal in nine of the last 10 years.
The 2017-18 regular season is nearing tip off, with the official start of the season slated for on Friday, Nov. 10. The Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament takes place March 1-4, 2018 in Seattle at KeyArena.
2017-18 PAC-12 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL MEDIA POLL
|Team (First Place)||Points|
2017-18 PRESEASON ALL-PAC-12 (MEDIA)
|Kristine Anigwe*||California||F||Jr.||Phoenix, Ariz.|
|Jordin Canada||UCLA||G||Sr.||Los Angeles, Calif.|
|Monique Billings||UCLA||F||Sr.||Corona, Calif.|
|Ruthy Hebard||Oregon||F||So.||Fairbanks, Alaska|
|Sabrina Ionescu||Oregon||G||So.||Walnut Creek, Calif|
* unanimous selection