Arizona women’s basketball fifth years Esmery Martinez and Helena Pueyo earned preseason All-Pac-12 notice from the media that covers the conference. The league announced on Monday morning that Martinez was named to the All-Pac-12 preseason team and Pueyo made the honorable mention list by getting votes from at least three voters.
Martinez is Arizona’s top returning scorer. She finished third on the team with 10.5 points per game last season. She was Arizona’s top rebounder with 8.6 boards per game. She shot 50.6 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from the 3-point line.
Martinez earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention after the 2022-23 season. In her previous four seasons in college, she has also been All-Big-12 Second Team (2021-22) and All-Big-12 First Team (2020-21).
Pueyo led the league in assist-to-turnover ratio with 2.61 assists per turnover primarily off the bench last year. She finished the season averaging 4.3 assists and 1.6 turnovers per game while playing 25.3 minutes per game. Despite playing off the bench, she averaged the fourth-most minutes on the team.
In addition to Martinez, the All-Pac-12 team included Colorado’s Quay Miller and Jaylyn Sherrod, Oregon’s Grace VanSlooten, Oregon State’s Raegan Beers and Talia van Oelhoffen, Stanford’s Cameron Brink and Hannah Jump, UCLA’s Charisma Osborne and Kiki Rice, USC’s Rayah Marshall, Utah’s Alissa Pili and Gianna Kneepkens, and Washington State’s Charlisse Leger-Walker and Bella Murekatete.
Pueyo is joined on the honorable mention list by California’s Leilani MacIntosh and Kemery Martin, Colorado’s Aaronette Vonleh and Frida Formann, Stanford’s Talana Lepolo, UCLA’s Emily Bessoir and Lauren Betts, USC’s JuJu Watkins, Utah’s Jenna Johnson, and Washington’s Dalayah Daniels.
Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day will take place in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Oct. 10. It will be aired on all Pac-12 Network. Arizona head coach Adia Barnes and fifth-year returners Martinez and Pueyo will represent the program.
I have votes for all-conference teams and preseason media poll rankings. Below are my preseason All-Pac-12 team in alphabetical order by school:
- Arizona: Esmery Martinez
- Colorado: Frida Formann, Quay Miller, and Jaylyn Sherrod
- Oregon: Grace VanSlooten
- Oregon State: Raegan Beers
- Stanford: Cameron Brink and Hannah Jump
- UCLA: Charisma Osborne and Kiki Rice
- Utah: Alissa Pili
- USC: Rayah Marshall
- Washington: Dalayah Daniels
- Washington State: Charlisse Leger-Walker and Bella Murekatete
JuJu Watkins was not on my ballot because I do not vote for freshmen in preseason. No matter how many accolades they have in high school, this is a different level and they have not shown anything in college yet. If they show it on the court, I vote for them in the postseason awards.
The last two on my list were Daniels and Formann. Those spots could have gone to lots of players, but I chose Daniels because she was the motor that moved Washington last year. The Huskies’ improvement was largely about her. She was top 10 in rebounds per game and top 3 in blocks per game last season. She was also top 5 in total blocks and field goal percentage. Her team had 12 more wins overall than the season before and improved by four wins in conference play. They went from last in the league to ninth.
For me, Formann and Utah’s Gianna Kneepkens are six of one and half-dozen of the other. Very similar players. I went with Formann, but that spot could easily have gone to Kneepkens. Both Utah and Colorado will be very similar teams. I will revisit that after the season.