The top spot in Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll has not changed in 14 years now as Stanford collected the maximum 11 first-place votes, the conference announced Thursday morning.
Coaches could not vote for their own team, and thus California, which ended up second behind Stanford with 111 points, received the remaining first-place votes. Colorado was third with 91 points with Washington (85 points), UCLA (80) and USC (77) rounding out the top half of the poll.
Utah (59), Oregon State (51), Washington State (50), Arizona State (29), Arizona (21) and Oregon (17) made up the rest of the poll.
Stanford, the defending 13-time Pac-12 champion, has topped the preseason poll since 2000-01. UCLA was the last team to finish atop the preseason rankings, receiving the honors two straight years in 1998-99 and 1999-2000.
The Cardinal has also captured the past seven Pac-12 Tournaments.
Tara VanDerveer enters her 28th at the Cardinal helm and 35th overall as a head coach with a career record of 894-203. With six wins VanDerveer will become just the fifth Division I women’s basketball head coach to reach 900 career wins. Since taking over the Stanford program in 1985 VanDerveer has led the Cardinal to 21 conference titles, 10 Final Fours and a pair of national championships (1990, 1992).
The Cardinal, which finished 33-3 and advanced to the Spokane Regional Semifinals a year ago, returns 10 players including four starters in 2013-14. The returning corps is led by two-time All-American and reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Chiney Ogwumike, who captured the Pac-12 Triple Crown last year with 22.4 points per game, 12.9 rebounds per game and a 58.6 field-goal percentage. Also returning are All-Pac-12 Team point guard Amber Orrange (10.8 ppg, 4.08 apg), redshirt senior forward Mikaela Ruef (4.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and senior guard Sara James (5.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg). The group is bolstered by a highly-touted freshman class that features forwards Kailee Johnson and Erica McCall along with guards Briana Roberson, Lili Thompson and Karlie Samuelson.
Stanford, which has reached the Final Four in five of the past six years, opens the 2013-14 season over Veterans’ Day Weekend, visiting Boston College Saturday, Nov. 9 then heading to Storrs to open the 2013 ESPN Tip-Off Marathon Monday, Nov. 11 at 4 p.m. PT against defending national champion Connecticut on ESPN2.