Oct. 15, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State women's basketball was selected sixth in the Mountain West Women's Basketball Preseason Poll as voted on by a panel of the league's 11 head coaches and media. The poll was announced Tuesday morning by the conference, prior to the league's media days at the conference office in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Fresno State, coached by former USU head coach Raegan Pebley, was picked to finish first in the conference with 238 points, including 17 first-place votes. The Bulldogs captured the 2013 Mountain West Tournament. Wyoming was tabbed second with 212 points, including four first-place votes, while the 2013 MW regular-season champion San Diego State was chosen third with 196 points and two first-place votes. New Mexico (185 points) and UNLV (170 points) were voted fourth and fifth, respectively with the Rebels taking the final two first-place votes. Utah State was picked sixth with 136 points, just ahead of Colorado State at seventh with 130 points. Boise State (96 points), San José State (76), Nevada (62) and Air Force round out the poll finishing eighth-11th respectively.
Wyoming junior Kayla Woodward was named the 2013-14 MW Preseason Player of the Year. Woodward, a forward, was a second-team all-Mountain West selection last season and was named to the 2013 MW all-Tournament Team. Woodward, the top returning scorer in the league, averaged 14.1 points per game in 2012-13. She is joined on the preseason team by Colorado State's Sam Martin, Fresno State's Taylor Thompson, San Diego State's Erimma Amarikwa, and San José State's Ta`Rea Cunnigan. San Diego State's Chloe Johnson was named Preseason Freshman of the Year, while San Diego State transfer Cierra Warren earned Preseason Newcomer of the Year honors.
Utah State enters its first season in the Mountain West Conference, bringing back six letterwinners from last year's squad that finished the season 18-14, finishing second in the Western Athletic Conference with a 14-4 league record. USU also advanced to the postseason for the third-straight season playing in the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI). The Aggies will have to replace all-WAC honorees Devyn Christensen and Jenna Johnson from the starting five, but do return senior guard Jennifer Schlott, junior center Franny Vaaulu and sophomore guard Makenlee Williams from the starting lineup.
The Aggies have seven new players on the roster this season, including transfers guards Mariah Miles (Oral Roberts) and Jasmine Porter (San Diego State), who both sat out last season. USU welcomes three freshmen guards in Elizabeth Landreth, Shelby Cloninger and Lynette Johnson. International transfers forward Tijana Djukic and guard Ingrida Strikas both will be immediately available this season.
USU head coach Jerry Finkbeiner is entering his second season at the helm of the Aggie women's basketball program. Overall, Finkbeiner has a 492-256 (.658) record in 24 years as a collegiate head coach at USU, Oral Roberts (1996-2012) and Southern Nazarene (1991-96).
Utah State opens action on Tuesday, Nov. 5 in an exhibition against Northwest Nazerene at 7 p.m. The season officially begins on Saturday, Nov. 9 against Black Hills State at 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Aggie women's basketball tickets are available by contacting the USU Athletics Ticket Office at (435) 797-0305 or at 1-888-U-STATE-1 (1-888-878-2831) for more information or visit the Utah State athletics web site at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
Fans can follow USU women's basketball at www.twitter.com/UtahStateWBB, as well as on facebook, at www.facebook.com/USUWBB. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at facebook, at www.facebook.com/USUAthletics. Utah State women's basketball is also on instagram at www.instagram.com/USUWbasketball.
2013-14 Mountain West Women's Basketball Preseason Poll Rank Team (1st-place votes) Points 1. Fresno State (17) 238 2. Wyoming (4) 212 3. San Diego State (2) 196 4. New Mexico 185 5. UNLV (2) 170 6. Utah State 136 7. Colorado State 130 8. Boise State 96 9. San José State 76 10. Nevada 62 11. Air Force 28
2013-14 Mountain West Women's Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team Name Class Position Institution Sam Martin Sr. F Colorado State Taylor Thompson Sr. G Fresno State Erimma Amarikwa Jr. F San Diego State Ta`Rea Cunnigan Jr. G San José State Kayla Woodward Jr. F Wyoming
Preseason Player of the Year Kayla Woodward, Jr., F, Wyoming
Preseason Freshman of the Year Chloe Johnson, G, San Diego State
Preseason Newcomer of the Year Cierra Warren, C, Sr., San Diego State
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