WESTWOOD—The UCLA Bruins women’s basketball team was ranked first in the Pac-12 by a panel of coaches in the league.
UCLA is being led by a group of juniors who ranked as the top recruiting class in 2014, and after last year’s sweet 16 appearance, the team is poised to dominate this season. The Bruins have four starters returning to the court in Jordin Canada, Monique Billings, Lajahna Drummer and Kari Kover. Last year’s star Nirra Fields has left the team since being drafted into the WNBA by the Phoenix Mercury.
Head Coach Cori Close hopes to improve on a season in which the Bruins went 26-9 overall and 14-4 in the Pac-12. Despite finishing last year’s NCAA tournament with a loss, Close remained confident in her team’s approach to the game.
“I just think it was a very workwoman’s approach today in this game. I told our team in the locker room you put your hard hats on and you say ‘Hey, I’m committed to excellence’. It was a very business-like approach, and I like the habits that they’re forming and the way that they prepare.”
This is the third time the UCLA women’s basketball team has been ranked first in the preseason poll, as the Bruins garnered eight of the twelve total first place votes. Stanford was projected as the second best team in the Pac-12 while Washington followed at third. USC was ranked number nine.
The UCLA Bruins will tip off their season on November 11, against the University of the Pacific.