SAN FRANCISCO — New Washington women’s basketball head coach Tina Langley and the addition of a cache of newcomers, including standout Nancy Mulkey did very little to brighten the preseason outlook of the Huskies.
Heading into the 2021-22 season, UW is tied for 10th in the Pac-12 preseason coaches poll.
NCAA defending champion Stanford, which tops the list as the preseason favorite, garnered 11 out of a possible 12 first-place votes and 121 points.
Oregon, which nabbed a first-place vote, is second with 108 points followed UCLA (101), Oregon State (86), Arizona (83) and Washington State (70).
The top six teams in the Pac-12 poll played in the NCAA tournament last season, which is the fourth straight year in which half of the conference earned a spot in the Big Dance.
The bottom half of the poll includes Colorado (65) in seventh place followed by Arizona State (47), USC (45), Utah and UW (25), and California (16).
Last year, the preseason media poll correctly predicted Washington would finish 11th. The Huskies were 7-14, including 3-13 in the Pac-12 under former coach Jody Wynn.
In March, Langley became the 12th coach in UW history and took over for Wynn who had a 38-75 record, including 11-58 in the Pac-12, during a four-year tenure.
Langley posted a 126-61 record during six seasons at Rice and guided the Owls to a 23-4 record, including a 12-2 mark in Conference USA to win its first outright league title.
Prior to her arrival, Langley lost three starters, including sophomore guard Tameiya Sadler and junior center Quay Miller, who were second (10.4 points per game) and third (9.9) in scoring respectively and both transferred to Colorado, as well as senior forward Khayla Rooks who left for UNVL.
However, UW retained junior forward Haley Van Dyke, who garnered all-Pac-12 honors after leading Washington in points per game (12.0), steals (44), minutes per game (31.9) and was second in rebounds per game (5.8).
Securing Mulkey, a 6-foot-9 senior center who averaged 15.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.5 blocks last season at Rice, may have been the biggest offseason acquisition for the Huskies.
Washington also added sophomore forward Lauren Schwartz, who started the past two seasons at Rice, and junior guard Trinity Oliver, an experienced veteran who played the previous four seasons at Baylor.
Additionally, Langley inherits an incoming four-player 2021 class (Marisa Davis, Avery VanSickle and Olivia Pollerd) that’s ranked 16th nationally by ESPNW. Jess Finney enrolled midseason and averaged 1.2 points in 14 games.
It’s UW’s highest-ranked class since it was 11th in 2013.
Still, in the past four years Washington has finished 11th, 9th, 11th and 12th in the Pac-12 and league coaches predict another season in which the Huskies end up near the bottom of the conference.