Zags Picked To Win 14th WCC Crown, Barta And Stockton Preseason All-WCC
Oct. 18, 2017
LAS VEGAS - For the fifth-straight season, the Gonzaga women's basketball team was picked as the West Coast Conference preseason favorite. Laura Stockton and Jill Barta were named to the Preseason All-WCC team. The poll and team were both announced at the seventh annual #WCChoops Tip-Off event Wednesday from the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
The Zags, which have won 12 of the last 13 regular-season WCC titles, received eight of the 10 possible first-place votes for 79 points in the poll. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team. Saint Mary’s was picked second and received two first-place votes and 72 points. It marked the second time the Zags and Gaels were picked as the top two teams, and the first time since 2010.
The Zags have now been picked as the WCC preseason favorite in 10 of the last 14 years. BYU (68), San Diego (54) and Loyola Marymount (48) rounded out the top half of this year's preseason poll.
Barta, a two-time First Team All-WCC and a WCC All-Freshman team selection, received her second-straight Preseason All-WCC nod. Last season, she led team averaging 16.8 points per game, fourth in the league and 92nd in the NCAA, while averaged six rebounds per game, 13th in the WCC. Barta scored a career-high 37 points against Saint Mary’s in WCC Championship, breaking the tournament record and the second most in GU single-game history. She scored 20+ points 11 times and 30+ points twice. She was the WCC Tournament MVP and WCC All-Tournament.
Stockton, who was selected All-WCC Honorable Mention and WCC All-Tournament last year, was selected Preseason All-WCC for the first time. Last year, she led the team averaging 4.4 assists per game and had 144 assists, third in the WCC and 10th all-time in a season at GU. She averaged eight points per game, fourth on the team, and led the team with a 1.95 assist/turnover ratio, third in the WCC and 70th in the NCAA. Stockton scored in double figures 10 times, had five or more assists 16 different times, and led the team scoring 14 points against Oklahoma in the NCAA Tournament.
After three seasons, head coach Lisa Fortier became the first coach in program history to lead her team to the NCAA Tournament twice in her first three years, and she was named WCC Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons, also the first GU coach to achieve that feat. Her 2016-17 squad set program records in three-pointers made with 224 and free throw percentage at 77.4 percent, along with breaking the single-game made three-pointers mark three times, finally settling at 17. Sophomore Jill Barta became only the second sophomore in the Division I era to score 1000 points at GU and was only the third Zag to be named First Team All-WCC twice in her first two seasons. The team finished 26-7, the program’s ninth 25-win season in 10 years.
Gonzaga has amassed a conference record of 176-26 (.871) during the last 13 years, which includes 12 West Coast Conference regular-season titles and seven WCC Tournament championships.
Gonzaga begins its season with an exhibition game against Northwest Christian on Nov. 5 at 2 pm inside the McCarthey Athletic Center.
2017-18 WEST COAST CONFERENCE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON POLL
2017-18 ALL-WCC PRESEASON WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM
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