Spokane - Eight-time West Coast Conference Champion Gonzaga University women's basketball has been picked to finish second this year in a preseason vote of the league coaches.
The Bulldogs, who for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign were not picked to win the WCC, garnered four first-place votes and received 60 points.
Second-year member BYU was chosen as the favorite to claim the WCC women's basketball title, edging the Zags by one point. The Cougars, who defeated GU to win the 2012 WCC Tournament title, received five first-places votes and 61 overall points.
Both Gonzaga and BYU received votes in the preseason USA Today Coaches' Top 25 released Tuesday. The Bulldogs garnered 43 votes to be the third team 'also receiving votes', while the Cougars received two votes.
Gonzaga is coming off another successful campaign where it earned its fourth-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament and reached the Sweet Sixteen for the third consecutive season.Raw Interview: Kelly Graves 11-1
Headlining the group of Bulldogs returnees is senior guard Taelor Karr and junior guard Haiden Palmer, who each were named to this year's WCC Preseason All-Conference team. Karr, the nation's reigning assist-to-turnover leader, averaged 7.5 points, 4.5 assists and 3.2 rebounds as a junior in 2010-11. Palmer was named the 2012 WCC Co-Newcomer of the Year after averaging 12.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 2.0 assists per game.
Overall, Gonzaga returns nine letterwinners from its 28-6, 14-2 WCC squad in 2011-12, including two starters.
Saint Mary's College was selected to finish third with 48 points and, like Gonzaga, had two players make the preseason all-conference squad; Danielle Mauldin and Jackie Nared.
The University of San Diego was picked to finish fourth in the WCC with a total of 36, followed by Pepperdine University in fifth with 33 points and Santa Clara University in sixth with 27 points.
Rounding out the preseason poll was Loyola Marymount University (7th; 25 pts), University of Portland (8th, 24 pts) and University of San Francisco (9th, 10 pts).
The Bulldogs will host Eastern Oregon University in an exhibition contest Saturday at 2 p.m. and opens the regular season Friday, Nov. 9 at UC Riverside.
The complete preseason poll and all-conference team follows.
2012-13 WEST COAST CONFERENCE PRESEASON POLL
Team (First Place Votes)
1. Brigham Young University (5)
2. Gonzaga University (4)
3. Saint Mary's College
4. University of San Diego
5. Pepperdine University
6. Santa Clara University
7. Loyola Marymount University
8. University of Portland
9. University of San Francisco
2012-13 PRESEASON ALL-WEST COAST CONFERENCE TEAM