The BYU women’s basketball team faces a rebuilding season after losing three starters to graduation last year, but the coaches in the West Coast Conference are still giving the Cougars plenty of respect.

BYU was picked to finish third in the WCC women’s basketball race this upcoming season by the 10 WCC coaches who voted in the preseason poll.

BYU junior Brenna Chase, the team’s leading returning scorer, and sophomore Sara Hamson made the preseason team.

Gonzaga received seven of 10 first-place votes and put a league-high three players on the preseason All-WCC team. The Zags went 27-6 last year and won their second-straight WCC regular-season title.

Saint Mary’s received two first-place votes and was picked to finish second. BYU, which went 16-14 last year, received one first-place vote. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams.

Chase, from Thornton, Colo., was an WCC first-team selection last year and Hamson was the WCC Defensive Player of the Year. Hamson, who also plays volleyball for the Cougars, sustained an ACL injury last summer and is not expected to return to the team until Dec. 1.

WCC PRESEASON WOMEN’S BASKETBALL POLL


Team (First Place Votes)
1. Gonzaga (7)
2. Saint Mary’s (2)
3. BYU (1)
4. Loyola Marymount
5. San Diego
6. Santa Clara
7. Pacific
8. San Francisco
9. Pepperdine
10. Portland


ALL-WCC PRESEASON WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM


Name 
Brenna Chase – BYU (Jr. G) 
Gabby Green – Loyola Marymount (Sr. G)
Sara Hamson – BYU (So. C) 
Megan McKay – Saint Mary’s (Sr. F)
Myah Pace – San Diego (So. G)
Sydney Raggio – Saint Mary’s (Sr. F)
Zykera Rice – Gonzaga (Sr. F)
Yasmine Robinson-Bacote -- Pepperdine (Sr. F)
Chandler Smith – Gonzaga (Sr. G)
Laura Stockton – Gonzaga (Sr. G)