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Arizona women’s basketball picked 7th in the Pac-12 media preseason poll, Utah selected 1st

NCAA Womens Basketball: Utah at Stanford Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The coaches and media think Arizona women’s basketball will play on the first day of its final Pac-12 Tournament. With only the first four teams getting byes for the first round, the Wildcats at No. 7 would open the tournament on Wednesday if that projection is correct. It would be the first time Arizona hasn’t earned a bye since its WNIT championship season in 2018-19.

The Utah Utes, who tied Stanford for the regular season title last season, were picked to win outright by both the coaches and the media. Seven of the league’s 12 coaches picked the Utes while 12 of the 27 media members gave them the top vote. They finished with 298 points from the media and 116 from the coaches.

The Utes return last year’s Pac-12 Player of the Year Alissi Pili.

UCLA was picked second in both polls. The Bruins got three of the coaches’ votes and 10 of the media’s votes. They earned 284 points in the press poll. In the coaches’ poll, the Bruins took 109 points.

In a rarity, Stanford was selected third. The media narrowly placed the Cardinal behind the Bruins. Stanford received 283 points and five first-place votes from the press. The coaches awarded the Cardinal two first-place votes and 100 points.

“The PAC-12 has, as long as I can remember, always been extremely strong and deep, and this year is no different,” said Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer. “You can’t look and think that you’re going to get a win against any team. You’re going to have to play the game, which is great. We want to have great competitive games. And so whether it’s Utah or Colorado or UCLA, I mean, we have great programs. No one can take anyone for granted, and that’s a great situation to be in.”

The final team selected to earn a bye is Colorado. The Buffaloes earned 90 points from the coaches and 220 from the press.

The coaches and media agree on teams 5-8: Washington State (84 pts from the coaches/202 pts from the media), USC (70 pts/199 pts), Arizona (51 pts/160 pts), and Oregon (49 pts/137 pts).

From that point, the polls diverge. Washington was chosen No. 9 by the coaches and No. 10 by the media. The media placed Oregon State at No. 9 while the coaches put the Beavers in 10th.

Both polls ranked California No. 11 and Arizona State last.