2018 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Media Day: Five biggest preseason storylines for 2018-19
At the risk of sounding a bit cliché, we are in for another incredible year of women’s basketball in the Pac-12. With three of the league’s top four finishers playing their way to the 2018 Elite Eight (Oregon, Oregon State and UCLA) and an amazing crop of newcomers, what else can you say?
Read up on the following five major storylines heading into the 2018-19 Pac-12 women’s basketball season before tuning in to Pac-12 Network on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 11 a.m. PT/12 p.m. MT to watch the Inside Pac-12 Basketball: Women's Media Day Special with Ashley Adamson, Mary Murphy, Kate Scott and Mike Yam.
Pac-12 Player of the Year. Pac-12 Tournament MVP. Nancy Lieberman National Point Guard of the Year. How can Sabrina Ionescu possibly top last year’s performance for Oregon? She did it all for her Ducks, as evidenced by the NCAA career triple-double record she set as a sophomore. Take a moment to let that sink in.
We’ve been hearing about Arizona’s 2018 recruiting class for a while, but now the prized players are finally on campus. In her third season with the Wildcats, head coach Adia Barnes has brought in a quartet of four-star recruits — including the program’s first-ever McDonald’s All-American, Cate Reese. Reese & Co. will get to contribute early on to make up for the loss of JaLea Bennett, the team’s leading scorer last year, and Kat Wright, who started all 30 games last season.
Washington State will take the court without June Daugherty at the helm for the first time in 11 years. Head coach Kamie Ethridge comes to the Palouse via Northern Colorado, where she led the Bears to their first-ever Big Sky Tournament championship and NCAA Tournament berth last season. Coming over with Ethridge is WSU’s new associate head coach, Laurie Koehn. Prior to Northern Colorado, Koehn played professionally for 11 years and spent her college days playing at Kansas State under — you guessed it — Kamie Ethridge.
There are some tall, tall trees growing in Corvallis. Lucky opponents will get to square up against Patricia Morris (6-foot-7), Joanna Grymek (6-foot-8) and Andrea Aquino (6-foot-9) as Oregon State seeks its sixth-straight NCAA tourney appearance. Losing Marie Gulich to the WNBA hurts, but enough key contributors from last year’s Elite Eight squad will be back on the court, bringing high expectations for the season along with them.
Four Pac-12 teams feature a sister act this season. Nyara Sabally, a four-star recruit out of Germany, joins older sister Satou on the Ducks’ squad — though she will sit out the year following knee surgery. Twins Lexi and Lacie Hull — both four-star recruits out of Spokane Valley, Washington — are part of the Pac-12’s second-ranked recruiting class this season taking up residency on The Farm. USC’s Minyon Moore, who started all 31 games for the Trojans last year, will get to suit up with older sister Mariya, who sat out last season after transferring from Louisville. Not to be outdone, Washington State’s roster has three sisters: Chanelle, Celena and Cherilyn Molina. Wishing Kamie Ethridge the best of luck keeping those names straight.