Nov. 3, 2008
BERKELEY - The California women's basketball team was selected as the No. 9 team in the nation in the preseason Associated Press and the USA Today/ESPN Coaches polls.
In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll, Connecticut holds the top position, receiving all but one first-place vote, earning 773 points. Total points are based on 25 points for first place through one point for 25th, ranking in the final 2007-08 poll and first-place votes received. Fellow Pac-10 team Stanford is second with 676 points. California received 495 points. Arizona State is ranked no. 18 with 215 points. In the Associated Press poll, Connecticut and Stanford again hold the first and second spots with UConn receiving all but one first-place vote, garnering 1124 points. Cal was ninth with 769 points.
The Golden Bears were ranked 13th in the 2007-08 AP preseason poll and 14th in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll. They were ranked for all 18 weeks in the AP poll, finishing the season ranked 10th. Cal was ranked as high as eighth in the poll, a position the Bears held for five weeks last season. The Bears were also ranked for all 19 weeks of the 2007-08 USA Today/ESPN Poll, rising as high as eighth, and closing out the year ranked No. 18.
The Bears had previously been selected second in the 2008-09 Athlon Preseason Top-25 poll and eighth in the 2008-09 Lindy's Preseason Top-25 poll.
Cal set a school record for wins in a season with a 27-7 overall mark and earned its first NCAA Tournament victory since the 1993 season. The Bears finished with a school-record 15-3 mark in the Pac-10. Led by first-team All-Pac-10 choices Ashley Walker and Devanei Hampton, Cal returns all of its 2007-08 starters this season. Walker and Hampton were named to the 2008-09 preseason watch list for the State Farm Wade Trophy Division I Player of the Year award, as well as selected as preseason All-Americans by the Sporting News.
Overall, Cal returns nine letterwinners and welcomes freshmen Angelei Aguirre and Casey Morris. Aguirre, a 5-11 guard, averaged 20.9 ppg and 10.2 rebounds pre game during her senior season at White Plains High School in White Plains, N.Y. Morris is a 5-9 point and shooting guard hailing from Piedmont High School, and was nationally ranked No. 35 ranked by Blue Star Report and No. 51 by HoopGurlz.com.