UCLA women’s basketball picked to win Pac-12 in preseason poll

UCLA guard Jordin Canada goes to the basket past Boise State forward Shalen Shaw during the second half of a first-round game in the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Los Angeles. UCLA won 83-56. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

With four starters returning from last year’s Sweet 16 team, the UCLA women’s basketball team was picked to win the Pac-12 in the preseason coaches poll, the conference announced Wednesday.

The Bruins are coming off back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances for the first time in school history. They received 115 points and seven first-place votes to lead the coaches poll.

UCLA was also picked to win the conference last year, but finished fourth.

Senior guard Jordin Canada led the conference in assists (7.12) and steals (2.5) last year. The L.A. native was third in the Pac-12 in scoring with 17.8 points per game. She was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and earned All-Pac-12 and All-Pac-12 Defensive Team honors for the second straight year.

Senior forward Monique Billings was named All-Pac-12 and All-Pac-12 Defensive Team after starting all 34 games for the Bruins. He was the second-leading rebounder in the conference with 10.5 boards per game.

Full preseason women’s basketball coaches poll, with number of first-place votes in parentheses:

1. UCLA (7) 115
T2. Oregon (3) 108
T2. Stanford (2) 108
4. Oregon State 85
5 California 83
6. Arizona State 74
7. Washington State 61
8. USC 47
9. Utah 40
10. Colorado 38
11. Arizona 20
12. Washington 13