Media select Oregon the favorite for 2018-19 Pac-12 women’s basketball

SAN FRANCISCO - In a polling of media members who cover Pac-12 women’s basketball, OREGON was voted to win the 2018-19 regular-season crown, the Conference office announced today. It is the first time the Ducks receive the top spot in the polling (based on available information), garnering 259 points and 19 first-place votes. STANFORD was second in the polling with 237 points and two first-place votes, and OREGON STATE was third collecting 218 points, including a first-place vote.

Also announced was the five-person Preseason All-Pac-12 team, also voted on by the media covering the Conference. CALIFORNIA senior Kristine Anigwe is making her third appearance on the squad, while UO’s juniors Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard are on the team for the second-straight year. First-time honorees include OSU redshirt sophomore Destiny Slocum and Cardinal senior Alanna Smith.

The media agreed with the Pac-12 women’s basketball coaches who voted Oregon to win the Pac-12 crown when the announcement was made at Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day earlier this month. Led by Ionescu and Hebard, the Ducks are coming off winning their first Pac-12 Tournament in 2017-18, after capturing the program’s third all-time regular-season crown and first since 2000. UO returns four starters from last year’s squad that also advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight for the second-consecutive year.

Stanford is fresh off making its 11th-consecutive NCAA Sweet Sixteen. The Cardinal return four letterwinners from last year’s team that finished second in the Pac-12. Smith was second on the team in scoring and rebounding last season en route to All-Pac-12 honors.

The Beavers welcome back four starters, as well, and add Slocum, a transfer from Maryland where she was tabbed the WBCA National Freshman of the Year in 2017. OSU had eight letterwinners from a team that made the NCAA Elite Eight for the second time in three years and tied for third in the Pac-12 in 2018.

Cal received 181 points for fourth place in the polling, its best showing since the 2015-16 media poll. Anigwe leads a squad that also returns the majority of its squad from last season, including three starters. ARIZONA STATE follows with 178 points and UCLA rounds out the top half of the poll in sixth with 155 points. After having no seniors last year, ASU returns all five starters and all 10 letterwinners from last year. The Bruins lost a pair of significant  contributors to graduation but will be led by senior Kennedy Burke who was named to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Watch List.

With 133 points, USC is fifth in the polling after coming off its first 20-win season since 2014. UTAH placed eight with 108 points and COLORADO is ninth with 79 points. The Utes have a relatively young squad but will be led by All-Pac-12 performer Megan Huff. The Buffs, on the other hand, have plenty of experience to draw from and are led by two-time All-Pac-12 honoree Kennedy Leonard.

ARIZONA’s 75 points puts it in 10th place in the media polling. Under third-year head coach Adia Barnes, this Wildcats season is highly anticipated with the addition of a top-five ranked recruiting class and several talented transfers becoming eligible this year. Under the direction of a new head coach, Kamie Ethridge’s squad collected 50 points for 11th place, while WASHINGTON rounds out the polling with 43 points. The Huskies will look to All-Pac-12 recipient Amber Melgoza to lead the squad.

Pac-12 women’s basketball is in the midst of its most successful run of seasons, boasting the most NCAA Tournament wins of any conference over the last three years (41) and the best winning percentage in the tournament among peer leagues (.695). The Pac-12 earned six NCAA Tournament bids in 2017-18, marking the fifth-consecutive year at least five teams have received berths. Three teams made the NCAA Elite Eight last year, also marking the third-straight year at least four teams have made it to the round of 16.

The 2018-19 regular season is just one week away, officially tipping off on Tuesday, Nov. 6. The Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament is moving to Las Vegas to the MGM Grand Garden Arena, March 7-10.

2018-19 PAC-12 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL MEDIA POLL

  Team (First Place) Points
1 Oregon (19) 259
2 Stanford (2) 237
3 Oregon State (1) 218
4 California 181
5 Arizona State 178
6 UCLA 155
7 USC 133
8 Utah 108
9 Colorado 79
10 Arizona 75
11 Washington State 50
12 Washington 43

2018-19 PRESEASON ALL-PAC-12 (MEDIA)

Name School Pos. Yr. Hometown
Kristine Anigwe California  F Sr. Phoenix, Ariz.
Ruthy Hebard Oregon  F Jr. Fairbanks, Alaska
Sabrina Ionescu* Oregon  G Jr. Walnut Creek, Calif.
Destiny Slocum Oregon State G R-So. Meridian, Idaho
Alanna Smith Stanford F Sr. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

* unanimous selection

 

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