The Gophers women's hockey team, the defending  NCAA champions, were  picked by WCHA head coaches to finish first in the conference this season in a preseason poll.

Minnesota had six first-place votes, North Dakota and Wisconsin one apiece.

Badgers senior forward Brianna Decker, the 2012 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner and WCHA player of the year, was chosen to win the later award again.

Gophers freshman forward Hannah Brandt was the unanimous choice as preseason rookie of the year.

The coaches' preseason poll:

1. Minnesota (6),  48

2 (tie). North Dakota (1),  40
            Wisconsin (1), 40

4. Minnesota-Duluth, 32

5. Ohio State, 24

6. Bemidji State, 19

7. Minnesota State, 12

8. St. Cloud State, 9