The Oregon St. women's basketball team has been picked to finish 3rd in the Pac-12 this year by the conference coaches, in balloting released today at Pac-12 Media Day for the women hoopsters.
Coach Scott Rueck lost only Alsysa Martin off of last year's second place team that finished 24-11, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 18 years. The Beavers will return Sydney Wiese, who sank an Oregon St. record 112 3 pointers last year as a freshman, as well as Jamie Weisner, Ruth Hamblin, Ali Gibson, and Gabriella Hanson.
Stanford was picked to win the conference for the 15th year in a row. The Cardinal lost graduated Pac-12 Player of the Year All-American Chiney Ogwumike, who was the first player taken in the WNBA draft, but Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer has 12 returning letter-winners off the Cardinal's Final-4 team.
But the voting was closer than it has been in any of the last 5 years, as Stanford got only 7 of the first place votes, and was only 5 points ahead of California, holding a 116-111 edge. Oregon St. was only 6 more points back, at 105.
The Golden Bears, who finished tied with Oregon St. at 13-5 for second place in the conference, got 3 first place votes. Coach Lindsey Gottlieb gets both of her top scorers back from last year, in seniors Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray.
Oregon St. got the other 2 first place votes, probably from VanDerveer and Gottlieb, who couldn't vote for their own team, and probably have contractual clauses barring them from voting for "that team across the bay".
Their 3rd place selection is the highest ever for the Beavers.
UCLA was picked 4th, followed by Washington, and USC. Arizona St., Washington St., Oregon, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona (which was unanimously picked to finish last) rounded out the poll.