Fresno State is forecast to finish fourth in the Mountain West Conference women’s basketball race in a preseason poll of league coaches and media released Wednesday, with two-time reigning regular-season champ Colorado State named the favorite.
It’s the second year in a row the Bulldogs were picked fourth as they enter their second season under coach Jaime White.
Wyoming senior Marquelle Dent was selected as the Preseason Player of the Year.
Colorado State, which returns three starters and seven letter winners including senior Keyora Wharry (Edison High/Fresno City), received 12 first-place votes and 237 total points.
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The Rams would be the first in Mountain West history to win three consecutive regular-season titles, though the faith voters showed doesn’t mean much to coach Ryun Williams.
“We don’t put a lot of stock into those preseason rankings,” Williams said in a Colorado State news release. “This is an entirely different team with an entirely different identity; we are going to have to prove ourselves, so that’s our mentality.”
New Mexico had seven first-place votes and 221 points, just ahead of last season’s conference tournament champion Boise State. The Broncos earned six firsts and 215 points.
Fresno State, a Mountain West Tournament semifinalist a year ago while finishing 23-10 overall and 13-5 in conference, totaled 182 points. No Bulldogs were selected to the preseason all-conference team. The team does return three starters and seven letter winners, but lost Co-Mountain West Player of the Year Alex Sheedy and MW Sixth Player of the Year Raven Fox to graduation.
“I’m excited this time every year, because it’s a matter of you have a puzzle and you’re trying to match the pieces and you think you know how it works and you don’t, let’s just be honest,” White said as part of Wednesday’s Season Preview on the Mountain West Network. “That is a challenge to me. How do we fit all of our pieces together, and knowing, if we can fit them all together, and have the teamwork that we want and the culture that we want, we’re going to have a successful year? And so I love this time of year because of the unknown.”
The Bulldogs host Cal State East Bay in a 5 p.m. Nov. 6 exhibition before opening the regular season at UC Riverside at 4 p.m. Nov. 13. Fresno State opens Mountain West play when it hosts UNLV at 7 p.m. Dec. 30.
Mountain West women’s basketball preseason poll
How the conference’s coaches and media forecast the 2015-16 race, with first place votes in parentheses and total points.
- 1. Colorado State (12), 237
- 2. New Mexico (7), 221
- 3. Boise State (6), 215
- 4. Fresno State, 182
- 5. UNLV, 138
- 6. San Diego State, 135
- 7. Wyoming, 125
- 8. San Jose State, 93
- 9. Utah State, 79
- 10. Nevada, 78
- 11. Air Force, 26
Preseason All-Conference Team
- Brooke Pahukoa, Jr. G, Boise State
- Ellen Nystrom, Jr. G, Colorado State
- Khadijah Shumpert, Sr. F, New Mexico
- Funda Nakkasoglu, So. G, Utah State
- Marquelle Dent, Sr. G, Wyoming
- Preseason Player of the Year: Marquelle Dent, Sr. G, Wyoming
- Preseason Freshman of the Year: Jannon Otto, Fr. G, New Mexico
- Preseason Co-Newcomers of the Year: Stephanie Schmid, Jr. G, Nevada; Dezz Ramos, Jr. PG, San Jose State
2014-15 Mountain West standings
San José State