We're smack in the middle of football season, but hoops is just around the corner, and today is media release day in the Pac-12 for Women's Basketball. And for the first time ever, Oregon State is picked to win the Pac.
The Beavers of course are the defending conference regular season champions, but that wasn't what was expected by the coaches, who for the first time ever are the preseason pick for first place. Oregon State received every first place vote except that of coach Scott Rueck (who by Pac-12 rules has to vote for some other team; he picked Arizona State), and with 121 total points, was essentially the unanimous pick to win (Coaches only rate the other 11 teams).
The Beavers, coming off consecutive NCAA Tournament trips, and a 27-5 season, their best record ever under Pac-12 Coach of the Year (in both the Media and Coaches' polls) Scott Rueck, return everyone off of last season's team except Ali Gibson, including 6'6" All-American and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Ruth Hamblin, Sydney Wiese, the Pac-12's leading 3 point shooter (and the all-time leader in Oregon State history) and also the conference leader in assists, and Jamie Weisner, who ranks in the top 10 in the conference in shooting from the field, 3 point range, and at the free throw line.
Perennial power Stanford, winner of last year's conference tournament and coached by Hall of Fame Coach Tara VanDerveer, is picked for second, with 104 points, with Arizona State, coming off a Sweet-16 run, is a close third, with 102 points. Its the first time Stanford has not been the pre-season pick since the 1999-2000 season.
California, who reached the Pac-12 Tournament Championship game (where they lost by 1 point to their arch-rivals) and UCLA, coming off the WNIT Championship, are tied for fourth, both with 88 points, and Washington rounds out the top half of the conference, in 6th place with 68 points.
USC is next, with 60 points, followed by Oregon, in 8th place with 52. Colorado comes next, with 39 points, and Washington State is 10th, with 30. Utah, with 23 points is 11th, and Arizona, with 17 points, is again picked for last place.
Oregon State opens their season Sunday, November 8th, with an exhibition game at 3 PM at Gill Coliseum against Corban. The Beavers start counting action the following Friday, at home against Longwood.