Oct. 3, 2001
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - Despite returning two starters from the 2001 regular season West Coast Conference championship women's basketball team, and a third starter from two seasons ago, Santa Clara University was picked to finish fifth in a poll by league coaches, the conference released yesterday.
Saint Mary's earned 49 points to slide ahead of Pepperdine for the top spot in this year's poll.
After compiling a 26-6 overall record last season, Saint Mary's earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Four all-conference players return to the squad, including WCC Player of the Year Jermisha Dosty, and WCC Freshman of the Year Corrie Mizusawa. The Gaels are looking to make the 2001-02 season their fifth 20-plus win season in a row.
Pepperdine, chosen second in the poll, will rely on the play of veterans Damaris Hinojosa and Shadrika Lee, as well as the addition of key newcomers, to make a run for the league championship.
San Francisco and Loyola Marymount are slated to finish third and fourth, respectively, in the poll. The Dons hope to make a splash this year with the return of their top scorer from two seasons ago and the infusion of young players added to the roster. The Lions will try to capitalize on last season's history-making 21-10 season with the return of all-WCC member Bryn Britton and a host of other veterans.
Santa Clara returns one of the league's top returning three-point tandems and all-WCC team members in senior guards Becki Ashbaugh and Caroline Gruening. The Broncos also bring back junior Tammy Annas, who redshirted the 2000-01 season after tearing her left ACL just four days before practices were to begin, but was a starter as a sophomore. Additionally, SCU returns experienced forwards in juniors Kendra Rhea and Julie Butler.
Portland holds the sixth spot on the poll, with San Diego and Gonzaga coming in at seventh and eighth, respectively.
2001-02 WCC Preseason Women's Basketball Poll
|1.||Saint Mary's (7)||49|
( ) first place votes