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Gonzaga Favored In WCC Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Gonzaga has been selected as the favorite to win the 2016 title in the annual preseason poll of the WCC’s 10 head coaches. The Bulldogs claimed five of 10 first place votes to earn the preseason favorite moniker by one point ahead of defending champion BYU.

Gonzaga (19-14, 10-8) claimed 76 points to finish ahead of the 75 points earned by BYU (26-7, 16-2). The Cougars earned four first-place votes after winning the first WCC regular season title in program history last year.

Saint Mary’s (24-8, 14-4) received the other first place vote and was the preseason pick to finish third in the conference with 66 points.

San Diego (25-8, 13-5) and Santa Clara (23-9, 13-5) were picked fourth and fifth after the two teams tied for third in the standings last season. The Toreros were predicted to finish fourth with 58 while first-year head coach Bill Carr’s Santa Clara Broncos were picked to finish fifth with 44 points one season after the team’s best conference finish since taking second in 2007-08.

Two points separated the sixth through eighth spots on the poll. Loyola Marymount was selected sixth with 36 points after going 11-20 (6-12 WCC) last season. Coming in seventh with 35 points was the reigning conference tournament champion San Francisco Dons, a program that will be under the direction of a new coach in 2016-17 in Molly Goodenbour. Pacific (13-17, 6-12 WCC) was one point behind with 34 to take eighth in the preseason conference poll.

Pepperdine and Portland tied for ninth in the preseason poll with 13 points each. The Waves went 7-24 (2-16 WCC) last season, and the Pilots put together a record of 3-27 (1-17 WCC).

Seven programs placed at least one student-athlete on the preseason All-West Coast Conference Team. BYU, Gonzaga and Santa Clara led all programs with two representatives each on the squad, including Purcell and Pulsipher from BYU, Barta and Tinkle from Gonzaga, and the senior duo of Marie Bertholdt and Lori Parkinson from the Broncos. Also earning Preseason All-Conference honors are Stella Beck of Saint Mary’s, Desire Finnie of Pacific, Maya Hood of San Diego and Rachel Howard of San Francisco.

The preseason poll and All-WCC team were selected solely by a vote of the conference's 10 head coaches.

West Coast Conference play begins on Thursday, December 29. For the most up-to-date schedule with game times and broadcast listings, visit WCCsports.com and follow @WCChoops and @TheWtv on Twitter. 

2016-17 WCC Preseason Women’s Basketball Coaches Poll

Team

(First Place Votes)

Pts.

1. Gonzaga

(5)

76

2. BYU

(4)

75

3. Saint Mary’s

(1) 

66

4. San Diego

 

58

5. Santa Clara

 

44

6. Loyola Marymount

 

36

7. San Francisco

 

35

8. Pacific

 

34

T9. Pepperdine

 

13

T9. Portland

 

13

 

2016-17 All-WCC Preseason Women’s Basketball Team

Name

Institution

Yr.

Pos.

Jill Barta

Gonzaga

Soph.

F

Stella Beck

Saint Mary's

Jr.

G

Marie Bertholdt

Santa Clara

Sr.

F

Desire Finnie

Pacific

Jr.

G

Maya Hood

San Diego

R-Sr.

F

Rachel Howard

San Francisco

Sr.

G

Lori Parkinson

Santa Clara

Sr.

F

Makenzi Pulsipher

BYU

Sr.

G

Kalani Purcell

BYU

Sr.

F

Elle Tinkle

Gonzaga

R-Sr.

G

            

About the West Coast Conference
The West Coast Conference was formed in 1952 and has evolved and grown to become a nationally recognized and competitive force in Division I intercollegiate athletics, with 15 conference-sponsored sports: baseball, men's and women's basketball, women’s beach volleyball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, women's rowing, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis and women's volleyball. The WCC is characterized by the stability of its membership and its unique emphasis on combining excellence in athletics with excellence in academics. For more information, visit WCCsports.com or follow the West Coast Conference on Twitter @WCCsports.