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No where to go but up? UW, WSU women basketball teams picked to finish at bottom of the Pac-12

Washington’s Amber Melgoza, left, and Jenna Moser listen to questions during NCAA college basketball Pac-12 media day in San Francisco, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Washington’s Amber Melgoza, left, and Jenna Moser listen to questions during NCAA college basketball Pac-12 media day in San Francisco, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) AP

Wednesday, the Pac-12 held its annual Women’s Basketball Media Day in San Francisco and the coaches selected

The Oregon Ducks women’s basketball team was picked first in the annual media poll, released Wednesday at the Pac-12 women’s basketball media day event in San Francisco.

The two Washingtons are on the other end of the voting. UW was picked to finish 12th and WSU 11th.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Reigning <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pac12WBB?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Pac12WBB</a> Champion <a href="https://twitter.com/OregonWBB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@OregonWBB</a> tops the 2018-19 Women&#39;s Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll for the first time in program history with 11 first-place votes! <a href="https://twitter.com/StanfordWBB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@StanfordWBB</a> comes in second followed by <a href="https://twitter.com/BeaverWBB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BeaverWBB</a> in third! More: <a href="https://t.co/ZbFS53NcBx">https://t.co/ZbFS53NcBx</a> <a href="https://t.co/DT2C5aUBwC">pic.twitter.com/DT2C5aUBwC</a></p>&mdash; Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) <a href="https://twitter.com/pac12/status/1050030739562135552?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 10, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Last season was a rough one for both UW and WSU as each team was knocked around in conference play. The Cougars finished with a conference record of 3-14 and will have first-year head coach Kamie Ethridge taking over the sidelines in Pullman.

The Huskies return head coach Jody Wynn for her second season. UW was 1-17 in the Pac-12 last season in Wynn’s debut.

Coaches and players from both schools met with the media at the Pac-12 studios. Here is some of what they had to say. (Quotes provided by Pac-12.com):

Washington Head Coach Jody Wynn on what she learned in her first season and how she’s applying to to season two.

“I think the biggest lesson that I personally have learned is it’s a game. It’s a very important game. It means a lot to us. It means a lot to our university. But the battles that we’re fighting are on the court, and at the end of the day these are young women that you’re mentoring and you’re becoming — and you’re a role model to every single day. And the chips will fall where they will fall. All you can control is that your effort and your attitude is there every single day for the people that are around you.”

UW guard Jenna Moser on here growth from her freshman year to the present.

“It’s been a lot of ups and downs. It’s hard to stay focused a lot of times when you are in a practice player role, when you’re in a night on the bench role. You take on more of a supportive aspect, obviously. You can do it, talking defenses from the end of the bench, less so of an on-court leader, obviously, because you’re on the bench. And so through the coaching change and through the role change, I’ve learned a lot of, I think my character has grown a lot.”

UW guard Amber Melgoza on what kept the team together during the rough moments of last season.

“I mean sometimes it was very hard, but you look left and right, and you’re sisters. Like we know that we have each others’ back and that is something that I knew that none of us were going to fail with that. And so that was something like, you know, there would be times when you’d come in the teammates just to be a better example in a lot of things. I never really had to lead on the court. I could lead off the court, be kind of a peacemaker. And I still do try and do that, but at the same time try to be the hardest working one out there to set that example for my teammates as well.”

Washington State head coach Kamie Ethridge on what she wants to accomplish in her first year.

“I think more than anything, you just want to lay a foundation, and I think I’m walking into a really pretty special situation. I think the seven that stayed and stuck around this program and committed to this program and wanted to stay and want it to become successful, that’s unique, even as a coach that’s walking in just to seven players. But I think they represent a lot of the things that I want to be about. I think they give us a great foundation. They’re committed players. They love to play. They love to practice. They want to be coached.”

Ethridge on the biggest concerns heading into the season.

Yeah, concerns are Stanford, UCLA, Oregon, Oregon State. Name all 11 of them. I mean, honestly, I’m thrilled that I’ve got people like this, players like this, competitors like this, people that have been through some adversity on my side and on our side and committed to this program and committed to the process of getting better every day. I know we’re facing some of the best teams in the country. Unbelievable challenges. They’re in year 10, they’re in year nine. I think Scott (Rueck) told me he’s in year nine, and he loves his team, and he’s like, why shouldn’t I because I’m in year nine. I’ve developed what I want in my program.”

WSU forward Borislava Hristova on the coaching change and expectations with a new coaching staff.

“I mean, our expectations are really high. With the new coaching staff we have, it gives us the freedom offensively. It’s like a free-flowing offense, more like reading-based. We’re just able to create for yourself, create for your teammates, and just being able to observe Kamie and Laurie’s (Koehn) knowledge, it’s just a great opportunity for us, and I think it’s going to help us grow as players and as people, as well.”

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