*Courtesy University of Wyoming Athletics Media and Public Relations Office
The Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team was picked to finish second as the Mountain West announced its 2013-14 preseason women's basketball poll and all-conference team on Tuesday. The voting panel consisted of the league's 11 head coaches and select women's basketball media. It's the highest the Cowgirls have been picked since the 2007-08 season when they were selected to win the league.
"Definitely surprised with our preseason selection," said head coach Joe Legerski. "I'm excited about the year but understand that this is a team that will develop over time. We lost three starters that accumulated approximately half of our points and rebounds, so someone will have to step up to fill major roles to meet our team expectations.
"Kayla has had an impact on this program over the past two seasons. She is very deserving for both honors being named Preseason Player of the Year and to the Preseason All-Conference Team."
Fresno State, the 2013 MW tournament champion, was tabbed as the preseason favorite. The Bulldogs received 17 first place votes and 238 total points. Wyoming was picked second with four first-place votes and 212 points, ahead of 2013 regular-season champion San Diego State. The Aztecs garnered two first-place votes and 196 points. New Mexico placed fourth with 185 points, while UNLV earned two first-place votes and 170 points for fifth place. Conference newcomer Utah State (136 points) edged out Colorado State (130 points) for sixth place. Boise State was picked eighth (96 points), followed by MW newcomer San José State (76 points) in ninth, Nevada in 10th (62 points) and Air Force in 11th (28 points).
Junior Kayla Woodward was named the 2013-14 MW Preseason Player of the Year. A 5-11 forward from Sheridan, Wyo., she 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 senior Sam Martin, Fresno State senior Taylor Thompson, San Diego State junior Erimma Amarikwa, and San José State junior Ta‘Rea Cunnigan. San Diego State freshman Chloe Johnson was named Preseason Freshman of the Year, while San Diego State transfer Cierra Warren earned Preseason Newcomer of the Year honors.
The Cowgirls will host the Chadron State Eagles, on Friday, Nov. 1, to open up the exhibition season in the Arena Auditorium. They will begin the regular season on Friday, Nov. 8, as they will play Montana State Northern in Sheridan, Wyo. Both game times are set for 7:00 p.m.
2013-14 MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE PRESEASON POLL
Rk. 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
Note: Coaches do not vote for their own teams.
2013-14 MOUNTAIN WEST 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