I’m still shaking the last fibers of a cozy vacation hibernation off only to see lots has happened in the women’s hoops world while I was away. We’ll have to wait to discuss the WNBA’s decision to relocate Detroit to Tulsa due to some news released today.
Washington, trying to rebound from a disappointing 8-22 season, was selected to finish last in the Pac-10 coaches and media poll — the latter unveiled this afternoon. Stanford, which won its third straight title last season, was a unanimous selection to win the conference again.
Washington State was selected to finish seventh among media, sixth in the coaches’ poll. It’s the Cougars’ highest ranking since the poll began in 1998-99.
UW coach Tia Jackson already was asked about the ranking, stating, “Somebody had to get picked last, and it just happened to be us.” She firmly believes her Huskies will surprise teams, noting recently that the Huskies are healthy and have 12 returning players.
Jackson’s team should be better than last place, but the conference could be a mess. With stars like G Briann January (Arizona State) and F Ashley Walker (California) gone to the pros, it’s anyone’s game after Stanford. Although my peers voted the Sun Devils and Bears to still finish in the top-3 in their transition period, I believe UCLA and even Oregon State can wiggle in to shake the conference.
The Cardinal is an overwhelming favorite because of C Jayne Appel and G Jeanette Pohlen, who were selected to the preseason All-Pac-10 team. Cal G Alexis Gray-Lawson, Arizona F Ify Ibekwe, and UCLA G Doreena Campbell were also named to the team.
But there are other exciting players to watch this season like the Cougars’ backcourt and the still pending debut of Southern California G Jacki Gemelos, who suffered four knee injuries and is expected to be cleared to play in January 2010. She entered USC as one of the nation’s top recruits in 2006.
The Seattle Times is spicing things up this season, returning to the road for some of Washington’s Pac-10 matchups. I’ll also make stops to see Gonzaga (the state’s best women’s hoops team), WSU, and Seattle University.
The Redhawks are entering their first season under former Arizona coach Joan Bonvicini and in Division-I ball.
It’ll be a busy winter of college hoops sprinkled with WNBA news. It all starts with profiles and previews the opening two weeks of November and the Huskies’ exhibition against Seattle Pacific on Nov. 5.
Are you ready?