Expectations remain low for the University of Utah women’s basketball team in the Pac-12 Conference.
The Utes have been picked to tie with Washington for 10th place in the upcoming Pac-12 race by the league’s 12 coaches at the Pac-12 women’s basketball media event Tuesday in San Francisco.
Only California has been picked to finish lower than Utah.
Defending NCAA and Pac-12 champion Stanford was selected to win the league, collecting every first-place vote and totaling 121 points overall. Utah received 25 points in the voting in which coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams.
Utah was picked eighth and placed 10th in the league standings last season, finishing with a 4-15 record in league play, 5-16 overall. The Utes lost 57-48 to Washington State in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas.
Coach Lynne Roberts and student-athletes Brynna Maxwell and Kemery Martin represented the program at Pac-12 headquarters in downtown San Francisco and participated in photo shoots, news conferences and TV interviews throughout the day.
Utah returns 12 players who saw action last year. Maxwell led the Utes in scoring with a 12.8 average, while Martin, from Corner Canyon High in Draper, was second in points with 11.1 per game. They earned Pac-12 honorable-mention honors last spring, the second such honor for Maxwell.
Utah has five newcomers this season: Jenna Johnson, Maka Jackson, Dasia Young, Ines Vieira and Gianna Kneepkens.
Jackson (UT Martin) and Young (Texas Tech) are transfers, while the other three are freshmen.
Oregon got the only other first-place vote and is picked to finish second behind the Cardinal. The Ducks are coached by former Utahn Kelly Graves.
UCLA is picked third, followed by Oregon State, Arizona and Washington State.
Utah begins play on Oct. 29 against Westminster College in an exhibition game at the Huntsman Center.
The first regular-season game is against Lipscomb on Nov. 10 at the Huntsman Center.