2006-07 NWC Women's Basketball Coaches Poll

PLU Picked Again in 2006-07

2006-07 Women's Basketball Coaches Pre-Season Poll:

School (1st) Pts. 05-06 Overall 05-06 NWC
Pacific Lutheran (Wash.) (7) 79 24-4 14-2
Puget Sound (Wash.) (1) 63 23-6 13-3
Lewis & Clark (Ore.) (1) 59 12-12 8-8
George Fox (Ore.)   58 19-6 10-6
Linfield (Ore.)   44 13-12 7-9
Whitworth (Wash.)   42 13-11 7-9
Whitman (Wash.)   36 14-11 10-6
Willamette (Ore.)   17 5-19 0-16
Pacific (Ore.)   14 8-17 3-13

(First-place votes in parenthesis. Points awarded on 10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis).

SPOKANE, Wash -- Led by last season's Northwest Conference Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, defending champion Pacific Lutheran University is a heavy favorite to repeat its title as NWC women's basketball champions, according to the preseason poll of conference coaches.

The Lutes, who advanced to the NCAA tournament's third round last winter while finishing 24-4, received seven of nine possible first place votes and 79 total points in the poll. Senior wing Nikki Johnson returns to defend her selection at the conference's MVP of 2005-06. Gill Rigell earned his second career selection as NWC Coach of the Year last winter.

Puget Sound, last season's runner up, is also second in this year's preseason poll with one first place vote and 63 points. The Loggers were an at-large selection to the NCAA tournament last year, finishing 23-6 after making the second round. But UPS will have to overcome the graduation of its all-star back court of Sarah Carnahan and Kilty Keaton.

Lewis & Clark is third in the poll with one first place vote and 59 points. The Pioneers, who only two seasons ago finished 1-15 in conference play, improved to 8-8 last season (12-12 overall) and return Second Team All-NWC forward Crystal Castle and HM All-NWC forward Allison Farr.

George Fox, which just missed making the NWC playoffs last season, welcomes back Second Team All-NWC wing Robin Taylor as the Bruins make a run at returning to the NCAA tournament. GFU is fourth in the poll with 58 points.

Linfield (44 points) and Whitworth (42) were fifth and sixth in the poll, respectively. Both teams finished 7-9 in conference play last season and just above .500 overall. The Wildcats bring back HM All-NWC guard Ashley Covey to lead a veteran lineup. The Pirates must replace four starters for the second straight season.

Whitman, a conference tournament participant last season, is seventh in the poll with 36 points. While All-NWC forward Lizzy Washburn has graduated, HM All-NWC guard Katie Patneaude returns for the Missionaries.

Willamette (17) and Pacific (14) wind up the poll in eighth and ninth places, respectively. The Bearcats hope to improve on last year's 0-16 conference record, while the Boxers will have to overcome the graduation of All-American post DeeDee Arnall.

This season the Northwest Conference will use a conference tournament to decide the automatic (Pool A) bid to the NCAA tournament. At the conclusion of the regular season the second place team in the final standings will host the third place team in a playoff. The winner will play at the regular season champion for the NCAA bid.

The 2006-07 season gets underway on Friday, November 17th.

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