Oklahoma was selected the preseason favorite to win the Big 12 women’s basketball regular season title in a vote of the league’s head coaches, the conference announced Wednesday.
It is the fourth time the Sooners have topped the preseason rankings. OU was also picked No. 1 in 2001-02, 2006-07 and 2008-09, winning at least a share of the Big 12 championship in each of those seasons. OU has claimed six regular season conference titles and four Big 12 Tournament crowns.
OU tallied five first-place votes, landing on top of half of the coaches’ ballots. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.
Led by Preseason All-Big 12 Team member and the conference’s top returning scorer Aaryn Ellenberg, the Sooners return four starters from its Sweet 16 appearance last season and welcome back two -- redshirt-freshman guard Maddie Manning and sophomore forward Kaylon Williams -- from season-ending injuries. Oklahoma also introduces six newcomers in 2013-14.
Baylor, winner of the past three Big 12 regular and postseason titles, received three first-place votes. West Virginia and Oklahoma State tied for third with 63 points. The Mountaineers were awarded the final two first-place votes. Texas was next at No. 5, followed by Iowa State, Kansas, TCU, Kansas State and Texas Tech.
The Big 12 has ranked No. 1 in conference RPI for the past six seasons and has led the nation in attendance 14 consecutive years. The Big 12 topped all leagues with 70 percent of its teams in the 2013 NCAA Championship and 80 percent in postseason play. It marked the second consecutive year for the Conference to lead in both categories.
Oklahoma tips off its season Saturday, Nov. 2, with an exhibition game against Cameron University at the Lloyd Noble Center at 7 p.m. Central. The game will be televised on FOX College Sports by Sooner Sports TV.
The Sooners begin the regular season hosting Preseason WNIT games at the Lloyd Noble Center. OU faces 2013 NCAA Tournament qualifier Stetson in the first round Friday, Nov. 8. In addition to the Sooners, the Preseason WNIT bracket features Gonzaga, Louisvillle and LSU.
2013-14 Preseason Big 12 Women's Basketball Coaches Poll
1. Oklahoma (5) 74
2. Baylor (3) 70
3. West Virginia (2) 63
4. Oklahoma State 63
5. Texas 49
6. Iowa State 47
7. Kansas 26
8. TCU 23
9. Kansas State 20
10. Texas Tech 15
(first place votes in parentheses; coaches not allowed to vote for their own team)