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Arizona women’s basketball picked 5th in Pac-12 media poll

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament - Final Four - Championship Photo by C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The Pac-12 coaches and media are in agreement. After the coaches picked Arizona women’s basketball to finish fifth in the conference last month, the media followed suit today. The media placed Stanford, Oregon, UCLA, and Oregon State ahead of the Wildcats.

Arizona head coach Adia Barnes wasn’t overly concerned when the coaches projected that her team would finish three spots lower than they did last season. She also didn’t see it as destiny considering how previous years have unfolded.

“Every single year in the Pac-12 we’ve been chosen lower than we finished except for last year,” Barnes said. “So ever since I’ve been here, we’ve never gotten respect, which is fine. Last year, we were chosen second and we finished second. But I don’t care. If I was looking from the outside in, I would probably think the same thing because you’re losing an All-American who was the catalyst on offense and defense for us.”

It will be a while before the projections of the coaches and media are confirmed or upended. In past years, that meant Arizona playing an easier slate of nonconference games before playing any top 25 teams. This time around, Barnes doesn’t have much time to prepare for the tough games. The team will be challenging themselves long before they reach Pac-12 play. The first test comes on Nov. 12 when the Wildcats travel to South Dakota to play No. 6 Louisville.

Along with recruiting, the improved schedule is part of climbing the ladder in the sport.

“I’m here to win the championship,” Barnes said. “I’m not here to be fifth in the Pac-12.”