Pac-12 Preview: No. 2 Stanford favored in loaded conference

Stanford is getting a lot of consideration throughout the preseason with Tara VanDerveer at the verge of passing the past due Pat Summitt because the winningest trainer in girls’s basketball

The Cardinal go back 9 avid gamers and had been picked via league coaches and media to win the %-12 Convention regular-season crown for the primary time in seven seasons. They’re additionally ranked 2nd in The Related Press Most sensible 25, their absolute best preseason rating in 11 years.

VanDerveer wishes 5 wins to surpass Summitt’s mark of one,098 wins. Offering no video games are canceled, that would happen in mid-December.

“I do know she has 4 or 5 wins till she will get the list, however I do know she has larger objectives than that,” mentioned guard Kiana Williams, who led the workforce in scoring remaining season, averaging 15.zero issues according to sport.

Guard Lexie Hull, who averaged 13.6 issues and six.zero rebounds remaining season, and sophomore Haley Jones (11.four ppg) joined Williams at the all-conference preseason workforce.

Stanford isn’t the one one producing headlines in what could also be the private convention within the nation. 4 different %-12 groups also are ranked — No. 7 Arizona, No. nine UCLA, No. 10 Oregon and No. 18 Oregon State.

Issues might be much more aggressive this season with a 22-game, double round-robin convention agenda. In previous seasons, groups performed 18 convention video games, that means some contenders confronted each and every different best as soon as.

The transfer this yr used to be because of COVID-19 considerations and leaves groups with best 3 nonconference video games.

“Everybody’s center title is versatile, We simply must do no matter we’re allowed to do and experience every day,” VanDerveer mentioned.

Oregon trainer Kelly Graves has advocated making the transfer everlasting as it approach there can be a real convention champion.

ARIZONA’S BREAKTHROUGH

The Wildcats would have made the NCAA Match for the primary time since 2005 till the pandemic reduce remaining season quick. They’re led via senior Aari McDonald, who used to be named to the preseason AP All-The us workforce after main the convention in scoring (20.five issues according to sport) in conjunction with 7.eight rebounds.

Trainer Adia Barnes mentioned McDonald carried the workforce on her again the previous couple of seasons however that she has developed as a pace-setter and now has a robust supporting forged.

Forwards Cate Reese and Sam Thomas had been named to the preseason all-conference squad. Reese, a junior, averaged 13.6 issues and seven.five rebounds remaining season whilst posting six double-doubles. Thomas, a senior, used to be the one participant within the convention to list greater than 40 blocks and steals.

“Looking at Aari and the best way she pushes the ball, we are going to play speedy however we’re going to call for so much defensively to assist create issues from our protection,” Barnes mentioned.

RELOAD, NOT REBUILD

Oregon has gained the regular-season identify the previous 3 seasons however graduated 4 starters, together with record-setting guard Sabrina Ionescu.

Erin Boley is the lone returning starter however Graves has introduced within the country’s best freshman elegance and has 8 avid gamers 6-foot-2 or taller. Ahead Sedona Value can even make her faculty debut after sitting out remaining season following her switch from Texas.

“It will be a brand new workforce with a brand new identification. We knew that coming in. I believe we have now a really perfect mixture however even supposing this is a large shift we’re going to be coming again sturdy,” mentioned Boley, who averaged nine.2 issues remaining season.

NUMBERS GAME

UCLA has made 4 immediately Candy 16 appearances, however the Bruins have intensity problems as freshman ahead Izzy Anstey and guard Gemma Potter — each from Australia — have no longer been allowed into the rustic because of coronavirus-related restrictions on first-year global scholars.

Trainer Cori Shut mentioned each avid gamers have filed a lawsuit and are hoping for a call inside of a few weeks. It does not assist in the intervening time as Shut mentioned she is down to 8 avid gamers working towards.

The Bruins do go back preseason All-The us ahead Michaela Onyenwere, who averaged 19.1 issues and eight.6 rebounds remaining season.

DARKHORSE

Oregon State used to be picked to complete 5th within the convention however that may well be fortuitous. The remaining time that came about (2016-17), the Beavers gained the convention’s regular-season identify.

Scott Reuck’s workforce landed 3 avid gamers at the preseason all-conference workforce. Senior Aleah Goodman is a Three-point specialist whilst Kennedy Brown (12.Three issues, 7.Three rebounds according to sport) and Taylor Jones are coming off sturdy freshman seasons.

BACK TO PRACTICE

Southern California could not follow for 2 weeks after the workforce used to be quarantined when a participant examined certain. The Trojans resumed Wednesday, however have just a week to arrange for his or her opener.

“How that’s going to translate into the primary sport? I don’t know,” trainer Mark Trakh mentioned. “We may simply roll the ball out and spot what occurs. We simply should be able to modify on a dime and be certain.”

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