Aug. 5, 2003
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - The Pepperdine Waves were selected as the preseason favorites in the 2003-04 WCC women's basketball poll, as selected by the league coaches. The Waves, who received six first-place votes, are seeking their third straight regular season and WCC tournament titles in 2003-04.
Should the Waves win both the regular season and conference tournament, they would become the first team in WCC women's basketball history to sweep both crowns in three consecutive years. Pepperdine returns three starters from last season's squad that finished with a 22-8 record and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the third time in the last four seasons. Headlining the list of returners is senior guard Shandrika Lee, who was having a breakout season (17.6 ppg, 3 rpg, 2.5 apg) before being sidelined by an ACL injury midway through the year. Also back for the Waves is a pair of all-WCC performers in senior forward Nicole Funn, and junior guard Shanell Law.
Coming in at second place in this year's preseason listing is Gonzaga, who received two first-place votes. The Bulldogs return four starters from last season's 18-12 team, including junior all-WCC selections, forward Ashley Burke and point guard Shannon Mathews. Following the Zags in the preseason poll is Loyola Marymount who were selected to finish third. The Lions return the reigning WCC Defensive Player of the Year in senior center Adrianne Slaughter and welcome back 2001-02 all-conference first team member, senior wing Kate Murray. Murray was the Lions¹ leading scorer last season before suffering a season-ending ACL injury just five games into the season.
San Francisco was selected fourth after finishing fourth in last season's regular season standings. Lady Dons' Head Coach Mary Hile-Nepfel returns a two-time all-WCC first team member in senior forward Carey Sauer and last season's WCC Freshman of the Year in guard Joy Hollingsworth. San Francisco is followed in the poll by Bay Area rival Santa Clara. The Broncos will look to their backcourt to lead them this season with the return of all-WCC junior guards Kayla Huss and Quinn Thomas.
Rounding out this year's poll is San Diego, Portland and Saint Mary's. The Toreros are looking to build upon the momentum from last season's conference tournament run, which saw USD advance to the semifinals. Portland and Saint Mary's return key players from last year's teams, led by all-WCC first teamers, senior forward Khalila O'Rielly-Williams and junior forward Triola Jackson, respectively.
WCC Women's Basketball Preseason Poll
( ) = first place votes
2003-04 WCC Preseason Top Returners
|Kayla Huss||Santa Clara||Jr.||G|
|Carey Sauer||San Francisco||Sr.||F|
|Adrianne Slaughter||Loyola Marymount||Sr.||C|
(selected by the league coaches)