Pac-12 women’s basketball preview: California schools lead the way
Stanford, Cal are the favorites, but OSU players say they can’t overlook anybody
Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012 03:11
For the 13th year in a row, the Stanford women’s basketball team is the preseason coaches’ poll favorite to win the Pac-12.
“I think the two most talented teams are Stanford and Cal,” said OSU head coach Scott Rueck. “They were picked at the top of the conference and I think UCLA is a great team to jump several rungs up the ladder.”
Cal is returning all but one of its players from last year’s team, which finished second in the conference.
UCLA finished in the middle of the Pac-12 last year, but has a few promising prospects from its recruiting class and received votes in the Associated Press, ESPN and USA Today Coaches top-25 preseason polls.
Last year, Southern California finished third in the conference; the Trojans are returning 10 players from last season, including two starters.
OSU players say the talent doesn’t end with the teams at the top of the conference.
“I mean, you always have your Stanfords and Cals, but in the Pac-12 it’s anybody can win any night so you really can’t overlook anybody,” said junior guard Alyssa Martin.
In order for the Beavers to make it to postseason play for the second year in a row, they will need to capitalize on their nonconference schedule.
“I love our schedule, it has a really good combination of teams that are going to challenge us,” Rueck said. “A year ago we didn’t have that on our schedules so this year we are going to be tested early by some really quality opponents that will prepare us very well for conference.”
The Beavers will play 12 nonconference games — including games against Michigan State and Texas Tech — before beginning Pac-12 play on Jan. 4 at home against USC.
“We are going to be prepared for Pac-12 when we get there, it’s a ways away and we have a lot to work on, but I feel like we’ll be there in time,” Bright said.
Sarah Kerrigan, sports reporter