Oct. 12, 2005
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - The defending postseason tournament champion Santa Clara Broncos were selected to be among the top three teams to compete for the West Coast Conference women's basketball title according to the 2005-06 WCC women's basketball preseason poll, as selected by the conference coaches.
The Lions, who posted a 16-13 overall record last season and a 9-5 mark in conference play to finish in second place, will be seeking their second WCC championship in the last three years. LMU captured the program's first conference regular season and tournament titles in 2003-04.
Loyola Marymount topped the preseason poll, receiving 59 points including four first place votes to edge defending regular-season champion Gonzaga.
Gonzaga, picked to finish second in the conference, garnered three first place votes after turning in a record setting performance last season by reeling off a 28-4 overall record and advancing to the second round of the WNIT.
Santa Clara, the 2005 WCC Tournament champion, was picked third and received the remaining first place vote. The Broncos return four starters and six of last season's top seven scorers. Santa Clara is deep at the guard spot with Michelle Cozad (13.1 ppg), Chandice Cronk (6.3 ppg), Ashley Graham (9.1 ppg), and Kayla Huss (6.8 ppg) all returning after making significant contributions a year ago.
Pepperdine, which returns six letterwinners, and Saint Mary's, which returns an experienced group of eight letterwinners, tied for the No. 4 spot in the poll with 36 points.
San Francisco, voted sixth, features the conference's leading returning scorer in sophomore Dominique Carter (15.7 ppg). San Diego, selected for a seventh place finish, has a new head coach for the first time in 25 years as Cindy Fisher takes over for Kathy Marpe, and returns all five starters.
2005-06 WCC Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Loyola Marymount - 59 (4)
2. Gonzaga - 56 (3)
3. Santa Clara - 43 (1)
4. Pepperdine - 36
Saint Mary's - 36
6. San Francisco - 25
7. San Diego - 21
8. Portland - 12
(First place votes)
2005-06 WCC Women's Basketball Top Six Returning Players*
Anne Bailey - Gonzaga (9.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg)
Dominique Carter - San Francisco (15.7 ppg)
Kayla Huss - Santa Clara (6.8 ppg, 3.5 apg)
Daphanie Kennedy - Pepperdine (9.2 ppg)
Amber Sprague - San Diego (14.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg)
Rachael Ziemann - LMU (10.2 ppg)
(*As voted by conference coaches)