BYU women's basketball team tops WCC preseason poll

SAN BRUNO, Calif. -- Brigham Young University has been selected to win the West Coast Conference women's basketball championship in a preseason poll of the WCC's nine head coaches.

The Cougars received five out of a possible eight first-place votes (coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team), just one more first-place vote than second-place Gonzaga. This is the first time in five years that a team other than Gonzaga has been selected by the coaches to win the WCC (San Diego, 2007-08).

Gonzaga, the 2011-12 regular season champion, finished one point behind BYU in the coaches' poll. The Bulldogs are one of three teams represented by multiple players on the preseason All-WCC team.

In all, student-athletes from six different schools are on the Preseason All-West Coast Conference team. BYU's Haley Steed was a 2012 All-WCC selection and Lexi Eaton was the 2012 Co-Newcomer of the Year. Junior center Jennifer Hamson was the third Cougar player to be named to the Preseason All-WCC team. She made last year's WCC All-Academic team.

Representing Gonzaga on the Preseason All-WCC squad are junior guard Haiden Palmer and senior guard Taelor Karr. Karr was second in the conference with 4.5 assists per game last season and Palmer was the 2012 Co-Newcomer of the Year.

Saint Mary's, the third team with multiple players on the preseason All-WCC team, returns junior forward Danielle Mauldin and junior guard Jackie Nared. Nared was fifth in the league with 7.5 rebounds per game last year.

For the first time since 2002, the West Coast Conference had two teams compete in the 2012 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, as BYU and Gonzaga competed in the field of 64. Gonzaga advanced to the Sweet 16 for the third straight season. 2012 also marked the first time that four WCC teams participated in the postseason. Saint Mary's and San Diego were selected to play in the Women's National Invitation Tournament. The Toreros made a historic run to the WNIT Final Four.

The 2012-13 season tips off on Friday, November 19 for seven of the nine WCC teams. The 2013 West Coast Conference Basketball Championships will return to the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas from March 6-11. 

2012-13 WEST COAST CONFERENCE PRESEASON POLL

Team (First Place Votes)

Points

1.  Brigham Young University (5)

61

2.  Gonzaga University (4)

60

3.  Saint Mary’s College

48

4.  University of San Diego

36

5.  Pepperdine University

33

6.  Santa Clara University

27

7.  Loyola Marymount University

25

8.  University of Portland

24

9.  University of San Francisco

10

2012-13 PRESEASON ALL-WEST COAST CONFERENCE TEAM

Player

School

Yr.

Pos.

Alex Cowling

Loyola Marymount

RS-Sr.

G/F

Lexi Eaton

BYU

So.

G

Meagan Fulps

Santa Clara

Sr.

G

Jennifer Hamson

BYU

Jr.

C

Amy Kame

San Diego

Jr.

G

Taelor Karr

Gonzaga

Sr.

G

Danielle Mauldin

Saint Mary’s

Jr.

F

Jackie Nared

Saint Mary’s

Jr.

G

Haiden Palmer

Gonzaga

Jr.

G

Haley Steed

BYU

Gr.

G