Oct. 30, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. -
Stanford Women's Basketball will open the 2012-13 campaign ranked fourth in both national polls after being revealed in the No. 4 spot of the USA Today Sports/ESPN Coaches Top 25 Poll Tuesday.
The announcement marks the fifth straight season in which the Cardinal women have opened a campaign ranked in the top five of both national polls. In last year's coaches' poll, Stanford opened fifth after having earned the No. 2 spot the previous three seasons.
The poll's top five teams mirrored Saturday's Associated Press Poll. Baylor received all 31 first-place votes from the coaches and the maximum 775 points to top the poll, followed by Connecticut (736 points) and Duke (674). Stanford came in fourth with 669 points while Maryland (656 points) took the fifth spot to round out the top five.
Notre Dame, Kentucky, Penn State, Louisville and Delaware rounded out the Top 10.
As in the AP poll, four of Stanford's 2012-13 opponents debuted on the coaches' poll. Along with Baylor and Connecticut, Pac-12 rival California checked in at No. 15 (No. 13 in the AP poll) and annual opponent Tennessee opened at No. 16 (No. 20 in the AP poll).
South Carolina (49) and Gonzaga (43), two more of the Cardinal's non-conference opponents this season, received votes in the coaches poll, the 28th and 29th-highest teams on the list. Fellow Pac-12 member UCLA earned 11 points.
Stanford, will face off with Baylor Nov. 16 at the Jack in the Box Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii in an early-season marquee matchup. The Cardinal's current national-best 79-game home winning streak faces a stern test when Connecticut returns to Maples Pavilion Dec. 29 for a 1 p.m. game that will be televised nationally on ESPNU.
Stanford visits Gonzaga Dec. 2, and faces road tests at South Carolina (Dec. 19) and Tennessee (Dec. 22). In Pac-12 play, the Cardinal faces California in a back-to-back home-and-home, traveling to Berkeley Jan. 8 then hosting the Golden Bears Jan. 13 for a 1 p.m. contest set to air nationally on ESPN2.
The Cardinal, winner of 78 straight games against Pac-12 competition, opens conference play as 12-time defending champion Jan. 4 at Colorado.
This year's Cardinal squad returns four starters from 2011-12's NCAA Final Four lineup that went 35-2 overall and 18-0 in the Pac-12, highlighted by a junior class featuring 2012-13 Associated Press Preseason All-American and Wade Trophy candidate Chiney Ogwumike (15.0 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 58.3 FG pct., 45 blocks in 2011-12) and All-Pac-12 guard Toni Kokenis (9.5 ppg, 3.57 apg, Pac-12-best 2.24 assist-to-turnover ratio). Senior forward Joslyn Tinkle (8.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 39.7 3-pt FG pct., team-leading 47 blocks) and sophomore guard Amber Orrange (4.8 ppg, 3.03 apg, 1.97 assist-to-turnover ratio), a Pac-12 All-Freshman Team honorable mention last year, round out the returning starters.
Sophomores Taylor Greenfield, a Pac-12 All-Freshman Team honorable mention last year, and Bonnie Samuelson also return, along with redshirt junior Mikaela Ruef, who was limited to three games last season with a foot injury.
Following exhibitions Nov. 1 and Nov. 3 against Corban University and Vanguard University, respectively, the Cardinal will open the 2012-13 campaign at home Friday, Nov. 9 against Fresno State at 7 p.m.
USA Today Sports/ESPN Coaches Top 25 Poll (First-Place Votes)
1. Baylor (31)
6. Notre Dame
8. Penn State
12. Texas A&M
13. St. John's
20. Georgia Tech
21. Ohio State
22. West Virginia
23. Miami (FL)
24. Oklahoma State
25t. Wisconsin-Green Bay