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

BASKETBALL NEWS:
Pac-12 Sneak Peek: No. 2 Stanford preferred in crammed conference

Stanford is getting a lot of attention throughout the preseason with Tara VanDerveer on the brink of passing the late Pat Summitt as the winningest coach in females’s basketball. However the Cardinal are likewise hoping the spotlight will be on them at the end of the season.

The Cardinal return 9 gamers and were selected by league coaches and media to win the Pac-12 Conference regular-season crown for the very first time in 7 seasons. They are likewise ranked 2nd in The Associated Press Top 25, their greatest preseason ranking in 11 years.

VanDerveer requires 5 wins to go beyond Summitt’s mark of 1,098 wins. Offering no video games are canceled, that might happen in mid-December.

“I know she has four or five wins until she gets the record, but I know she has bigger goals than that,” stated guard Kiana Williams, who led the group in scoring last season, balancing 15.0 points per video game.

Guard Lexie Hull, who balanced 13.6 points and 6.0 rebounds last season, and sophomore Haley Jones (11.4 ppg) signed up with Williams on the all-conference preseason group.

Stanford isn’t the only one producing headings in what might be the inmost conference in the nation. 4 other Pac-12 groups are likewise ranked – No. 7 Arizona, No. 9 UCLA, No. 10 Oregon and No. 18 Oregon State.

Things might be much more competitive this season with a 22-game, double round-robin conference schedule. In previous seasons, groups played 18 conference video games, implying some competitors dealt with each other just as soon as.

The relocation this year was because of COVID-19 issues and leaves groups with just 3 nonconference video games.

“Everyone’s middle name is flexible, We just have to do whatever we’re allowed to do and enjoy each day,” VanDerveer stated.

Oregon coach Kelly Graves has actually promoted making the relocation long-term due to the fact that it implies there would be a real conference champ.

ARIZONA’S DEVELOPMENT

The Wildcats would have made the NCAA Competition for the very first time considering that 2005 till the pandemic cut last season brief. They are led by senior Aari McDonald, who was called to the preseason AP All-America group after leading the conference in scoring (20.5 points per video game) in addition to 7.8 rebounds.

Coach Adia Barnes stated McDonald brought the group on her back the previous number of seasons however that she has actually progressed as a leader and now has a strong supporting cast.

Forwards Cate Reese and Sam Thomas were called to the preseason all-conference team. Reese, a junior, balanced 13.6 points and 7.5 rebounds last season while publishing 6 double-doubles. Thomas, a senior, was the only gamer in the conference to tape more than 40 blocks and takes.

“Watching Aari and the way she pushes the ball, we’re going to play fast but we’re going to demand a lot defensively to help create points from our defense,” Barnes stated.

RELOAD, NOT REBUILD

Oregon has actually won the regular-season title the previous 3 seasons however finished 4 beginners, consisting of record-setting guard Sabrina Ionescu.

Erin Boley is the only returning starter however Graves has actually generated the country’s leading freshman class and has 8 gamers 6-foot-2 or taller. Forward Sedona Rate will likewise make her college launching after remaining last season following her transfer from Texas.

“It’s going to be a new team with a new identity. We knew that coming in. I think we have a great combination but even though it is a big shift we are going to be coming back strong,” stated Boley, who balanced 9.2 points last season.

NUMBERS VIDEO GAME

UCLA has actually made 4 straight Sugary food 16 looks, however the Bruins have depth concerns as freshman forward Izzy Anstey and guard Gemma Potter – both from Australia – have actually not been enabled into the nation due to coronavirus-related constraints on first-year global trainees.

Coach Cori Close stated both gamers have actually submitted a claim and are expecting a choice within a number of weeks. It doesn’t assist in the interim as Close stated she is down to 8 gamers practicing.

The Bruins do return preseason All-America forward Michaela Onyenwere, who balanced 19.1 points and 8.6 rebounds last season.

DARKHORSE

Oregon State was selected to end up 5th in the conference however that may be fortuitous. The last time that took place (2016-17), the Beavers won the conference’s regular-season title.

Scott Reuck’s group landed 3 gamers on the preseason all-conference group. Senior Aleah Goodman is a 3-point expert while Kennedy Brown (12.3 points, 7.3 rebounds per video game) and Taylor Jones are coming off strong freshman seasons.

BACK TO PRACTICE

Southern California couldn’t practice for 2 weeks after the group was quarantined when a gamer evaluated favorable. The Trojans resumed Wednesday, however have just a week to get ready for their opener.

“How that’s going to translate into the first game? I don’t know,” coach Mark Trakh stated. “We might just roll the ball out and see what happens. We just have to be ready to change on a dime and be positive.”

___

Follow Joe Reedy on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/joereedy

___

More AP females’s basketball: https://apnews.com/Womenscollegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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