Cori Close, UCLA
Much like Texas, which graduated Ariel Atkins and Brooke McCarty in 2018, UCLA lost a pro-caliber duo after last season in Jordin Canada and Monique Billings. The Bruins had an uneven start to 2018-19, suffering two separate four-game losing streaks before February. But Close, the media’s pick for Pac-12 Coach of the Year, steered UCLA to a win over Oregon in Pac-12 play, a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and an upset of third-seeded Maryland in the first round. Next season, two of UCLA’s top three scorers will be back, Baylor transfer Natalie Chou will be eligible, and two HoopGurlz top-25 recruits will join the fold, all of which should help the Bruins finish near the top of a loaded Pac-12 Conference.