Women's basketball links: The Wooden Award Watch List, preseason polls, and the Pac-12 Network's live media day coverage

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

15 items - 14 links and a video - to start gearing up for the 2013-14 NCAA season.

Normally, I would make this offseason links post one massive link dump with stories from the last week or so. However, with a number of preseason polls coming out over the last few days (and another this morning) we'll limit the scope.

Without further ado, linkage.

NCAA preseason polls & awards

  • UConn announced that they led all programs with four members on the 2013-14 Wooden Award Preseason Top-30 list with the usual suspects: Stefanie Dolson, Bria Hartley, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, and Breanna Stewart. As a side note for WNBA fans, there are 21 seniors on the list who might be worth keeping an eye on for the 2014 WNBA draft. One player probably worth keeping an eye on who isn't on the list: Oklahoma State point guard Tiffany Bias. Read more >>>

  • Maryland Athletics announced that two-time Wooden Award finalist Alyssa Thomas was voted Preseason ACC Player of the Year yesterday as she aims for a third straight award. Also: "...needs 557 points to surpass Crystal Langhorne’s record of 2,247 points scored." Read more >>>

  • Paul Pierre-Lewis of The Diamondback also had a great article about Thomas' changing role this season with the departure of Tianna Hawkins: she'll be playing the post a bit more often. "This offseason, Thomas has been practicing post moves with assistant coach David Adkins to become a better scorer in the paint. The Terps don’t expect her to become a direct replacement for Hawkins, however, and Thomas still anticipates handling the ball. With her athleticism, she can cause mismatches on the wings against post players. "It’s flexible," Thomas said. "Definitely, with my speed, I’ll be able to out-quick a lot of the post players." Read more >>>
  • Rayne Brown of the Baylor Lariat reported on Lady Bears point guard Odyssey Sims' summer experience, including being selected as MVP of the World University Games and the USA Women’s National Team mini-camp in Las Vegas earlier this month. "I was kind of nervous being around all of these WNBA players that I actually look up to," Sims said. "Tamika Catchings, she really helped me. She guided me every day I was there. She told me what to do. Looking up to them, seeing what they were doing and then trying to incorporate it. I kind of took leading a lot better than I had been doing since I’ve been here." Read more >>>
  • The West Coast Conference just released their preseason poll this morning with Gonzaga leading the way. A couple of things to note in that conference: First, the University of the Pacific (perhaps best known in basketball circles for producing former NBA #1 pick Michael Olowokandi?) is a new addition to the conference and expected to make some noise right away. Second, Jennifer Azzi's University of San Francisco squad might not be a sleeper, but they should be expected to improve despite losing senior Mel Khlok and are led by a pair of talented sophomores - preseason All-Conference selection Zhane Dikes and forward Taylor Proctor - who should make the future bright as well. Read more >>>
  • Cal Poly announced that they have been voted as the favorite to take the 2013-14 Big West title. They'll return a talented roster, which includes 2012-13 Big West Player of the Year Molly Schlemer as well as point guard Jonae Ervin who, "...was among the leaders of the NCAA in assist/turnover ratio when she dished out 120 assists while committing only 46 turnovers." Read more >>>
  • The Pac-12 has announced its preseason poll as well today with Stanford being the favorite and Cal receiving just one vote after "...coming off the most successful campaign in the program’s history, earning a share of its first-ever Conference regular-season crown last year and a first-ever trip to the NCAA Women’s Final Four." The Pac-12 Networks Newsroom has also announced that they will broadcast Pac-12 media day, with Stanford's Tara VanDerveer kicking things off at noon. Read more >>>

Other NCAA news

  • Mick McCabe of the Detroit Free Press reports that Michigan Wolverines coach Kim Barnes Arico believes this will be a rebuilding year after losing its most successful senior class in history and making it to the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament. "I think this year is going to be a little bit of a transition year for us," Arico said. "Obviously we graduated probably over 90% of our scoring. We have, I think, six total points returning in Nicole Elmblad’s four and Madison Ristovski’s two. So it’s definitely going to be a young and inexperienced team." Read more >>>
  • Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle had a sad, yet well-written, article about concussions affecting a pair of Stanford players, including guard Toni Kokenis, who has been forced to retire. The tough part for Kokenis was dealing with the uncertainty of whether she'd ever be able to play again after sustaining the concussion. Read more >>>

Random pinkwashing

Obviously there are other links floating around the web as well so feel free to drop them in the comments below along with any other insights you might have or create a fan shot with videos or tweets of interest. If you have a longer commentary to make about something, feel free to write up a fan post.

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