Fresno State junior center Bego Faz Davalos was named to the Preseason All-Mountain West Team on Wednesday, and the Bulldogs were picked to finish third in a preseason poll of the conference’s 11 women’s basketball coaches and select media.
Colorado State is favored to win a fourth straight regular-season title behind preseason player of the year Ellen Nystrom. The Rams received 17 of 29 first-place votes for 283 total points.
Boise State had 11 first-place votes and 271 points, while the Bulldogs had 225 points. New Mexico, picked sixth overall, received the other first-place vote.
Mountain West women’s Basketball Poll Rank, team, first place votes, total points 1. Colorado State (17) 283 2. Boise State (11) 271 3. Fresno State 225 4. UNLV 201 5. San José State 197 6. New Mexico (1) 176 7. San Diego State 126 8. Wyoming 123 9. Utah State 97 10. Nevada 66 11. Air Force 28 2016-17 ALL-MW PRESEASON TEAM Brooke Pahukoa Sr. G Boise State Ellen Nystrom Sr. G Colorado State Bego Faz Davalos Jr. C Fresno State Cherise Beynon Jr. G New Mexico Dezz Ramos Sr. PG San José State Preseason Player of the Year: Ellen Nystrom, Sr., G, Colorado State Preseason Freshman of the Year: Mykiel Burleson, Fr., G, New Mexico Preseason Newcomer of the Year: Hallie Gennett, Jr., F, San José State
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The Bulldogs, who host Azusa Pacific in a Nov. 4 exhibition and Biola on Nov. 12, both at Save Mart Center, were the runners-up a year ago at 15-3 and 22-12 overall under second-year coach Jaime White. Fresno State was picked fourth in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 polls.
Nystrom, a senior guard and last year’s regular-season player of the year, was joined on the all-preseason team by reigning defensive player of the year Faz Davalos, Boise State senior Brooke Pahukoa, New Mexico junior Cherise Beynon and San Jose State senior Dezz Ramos.
New Mexico rookie Mykiel Burleson is the preseason freshman of the year and San Jose State transfer Hallie Gennett the preseason newcomer of the year.
Faz Davalos led the Bulldogs in scoring (12.7), rebounding (9.4) and blocks (136) and was second in steals (45) and assists (85). With the loss of center Toni Smith to graduation, Fresno State will need even more production.
“Obviously we expect a big defensive presence from Bego,” White said during the Mountain West preseason show on Facebook Live. “But we’ll also be looking for (Faz Davalos) to score a little more around the basket and from that high-post shot.”
Faz Davalos and sophomore guard Breanne Knishka are the only returning starters, but the Bulldogs have six other letter winners on the roster plus redshirt sophomore guard Tory Jacobs, a Minnesota transfer who sat out last season per NCAA rules.
The 5-foot-10 Jacobs could play at point or shooting guard. “She has good 3-point range, good ball handling and is a good passing point guard,” White said.
Also back are seniors Emilie Volk, Kendra Martin and Anais Kirvan, and sophomores Candice White, Zaria Branch and Raven Johnson.
Newcomers include freshman guard Kristina Cavey, who has the team’s top vertical leap at 26 inches, and 6-4 center Katelin Noyer of Auckland, New Zealand.
“We’ve turned over 12 kids in two years,” she said. “We’re excited to see where everybody fits and how we move forward.”
- Nov. 4 vs. Azusa Pacific (Exhibition)
- Nov. 11 vs. Biola
- Nov. 15 vs. Utah
- Nov. 18 vs. CSUN
- Nov. 25 vs. Belmont^
- Nov. 26 vs. UC Irvine^
- Nov. 30 vs. San Francisco
- Dec. 4 at Washington
- Dec. 7 vs. CSU Dominguez Hills
- Dec. 10 at Pacific
- Dec. 16 vs. UC Santa Barbara
- Dec. 19 at Weber State
- Dec. 29 vs. New Mexico*
- Dec. 31 at Nevada*
- Jan. 4 at Wyoming*
- Jan. 7 vs. San Jose State*
- Jan. 11 vs. Air Force*
- Jan. 14 at Boise State*
- Jan. 18 at Colorado State*
- Jan. 21 vs. Nevada*
- Feb. 1 at Air Force*
- Feb. 4 at San Diego State*
- Feb. 8 vs. Wyoming*
- Feb. 11 vs. Colorado State*
- Feb. 15 at San Jose State*
- Feb. 18 at New Mexico*
- Feb. 22 vs. San Diego State*
- Feb. 28 vs. Boise State*
- March 3 at UNLV*
- March 6-10 MW Championship at Las Vegas
^Loyola Marymount Thanksgiving Tournament in Los Angeles
*Mountain West game