The University of Utah women’s basketball team is projected to finish this season exactly where it finished last season in the Pac-12.
The Utes landed at eighth in both the Pac-12 preseason media poll and coaches poll, released Tuesday morning to coincide with the league’s virtual media day.
Utah, 14-17 overall and 6-12 in the Pac-12 last season, finished eighth in the league behind a bevy of ranked teams. The league appears strong again with No. 2 Stanford, No. 7 Arizona, No. 9 UCLA, No. 10 Oregon and No. 18 Oregon State all cracking the Associated Press preseason Top 25.
The Cardinal were installed Wednesday as the prohibitive favorite in both Pac-12 polls, picking up 19 of 21 first-place votes from the media and 10 of 12 first-place votes from the coaches. The top-5 teams were the same in both polls. Arizona, Oregon, UCLA and Oregon State went 2-3-4-5 in the media poll. The Wildcats and Ducks finished in a tie for second in the coaches poll, followed by the Bruins and Beavers.
Also Wednesday, Utah sophomore guard Brynna Maxwell was named to the 15-member preseason All-Pac-12 team, while junior guard Dru Gylten was named to the 10-member honorable-mention list.
Last season, Maxwell became the first Utah freshman to earn All-Pac-12 honors since the Utes joined the league in 2011. Maxwell started all 31 games, leading the league in 3-pointers made (83) and 3-pointers per game (2.7), while finishing second in 3-point percentage (47.2%).
Gylten started 30 games last season, finishing tied for second in the Pac-12 and 22nd nationally in total assists (159). She averaged 6.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.4 steals over those 30 games.
Utah will open its season Nov. 25 vs. Southern Utah at the Huntsman Center, followed by another in-state home game two days later vs. Utah Valley.
PAC-12 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON MEDIA POLL
1. Stanford (19 first-place votes) 248
2. Arizona (1) 225
3. Oregon 201
4. UCLA 200
5. Oregon State (1) 174
6. Arizona State 135
7. USC 130
8. Utah 94
9. Cal 76
10. Colorado 75
11. Washington 53
12. Washington State 27
PAC-12 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Stanford (10 first-place votes) 120
2. Arizona (2) 103
2. Oregon 103
4. UCLA 88
5. Oregon State 83
6. USC 69
7. Arizona State 61
8. Utah 52
9. Colorado 43
10. Cal 31
11. Washington 24
12. Washington State 15