The conference's annual preseason coaches poll was released Tuesday morning prior to Pac-12 Women's Basketball Media Day, and UCLA placed third with 101 points. No coach picked the Bruins to emerge as 2021 Pac-12 champions, however, a preseason honor they haven’t received since they earned it back-to-back ahead of the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons.
Stanford, the reigning NCAA champions, was a near unanimous selection to win the conference this season. The Cardinal were the preseason favorite for 15 years in a row from 2000 to 2014, and after five consecutive years of being picked to finish second, they have now returned to the top preseason spot for the second straight year.
UCLA lost to Stanford in the Pac-12 tournament finals last season.
Coach Cori Close has repeatedly told the media she thinks this is the most talented team she's ever had in Westwood, even if there are a lot of fresh faces. Close will be at the in-person Pac-12 Media Day at the conference offices in San Francisco on Tuesday, joined by guards Charisma Osborne and Gina Conti.
Conti is one of several transfers joining the Bruins, coming over from Wake Forest. Osborne is the team's leading returning scorer and stands to fight for the conference scoring title.
UCLA will tip off its season Nov. 10 at Pauley Pavilion against Pepperdine.
The full coaches poll results are as follows: