After back-to-back Elite Eight finishes, the Oregon women’s basketball team will begin the 2018 college basketball season in a place they’ve never been before; ranked No. 3 in the country in the latest release of the AP Poll.
The Ducks’ highest previous ranking was No. 6, which came last year as they were the Pac-12 regular season and tournament champions on the season. Oregon began the season ranked No. 11 before embarking on the best season in program history, finishing the year 33-5 before succumbing to Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament.
The reason for optimism in Eugene is because the Ducks return four starters, two of whom were players who were chosen as the best at their respective positions in the nation.
Junior Sabrina Ionescu was the national point guard of the year, as well as being named an all-American and the Pac-12 player of the year. Her classmate, Ruthy Hebard, was chosen as the national power forward of the year, giving Oregon two of the better players in country.
Reigning national champions Notre Dame is the unanimous No. 1 team in the country after returning four starters from last year’s squad. Connecticut is No. 2, followed by Oregon, Baylor and Louisville rounding at the top-5.
The Pac-12 has five teams ranked in the top-25. Following Oregon is No. 7 Stanford and No. 8 Oregon State, No. 23 Arizona State and No. 24 California.