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Idaho leads Big Sky Conference women’s basketball polls; Montana, Montana State middle of pack

Posted at 11:50 AM, Oct 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-18 15:14:39-04

(Editor’s note: Big Sky Conference media release)

OGDEN, Utah – Another Big Sky women’s basketball season approaches, and Idaho was selected to win the 2018-19 Big Sky Championship in both the preseason coaches’ and media polls.

The Vandals scored nine first-place votes in the coaches’ poll (99 points) and 13 first-place votes in the media poll (202 points). Idaho went 13-5 in conference play last season and made it all the way to the Big Sky Championship game before falling to Northern Colorado. Most importantly, Idaho returns one of the best duos the Big Sky has ever seen in seniors Mikayla Ferenz (22.5 ppg) and Taylor Pierce (15.6 ppg). With the help of Ferenz and Pierce, Idaho led the league in three-point field goal percentage last year (36.6 percent). Since 2016, the Vandals have made three-straight postseason appearances.

After advancing to the Big Sky semifinals last year, Portland State was picked by the coaches and media (87, 169 points) to finish second, receiving two first-place votes in each poll. The Vikings return the majority of its roster, including All-Big Sky selections Ashley Bolston and Sidney Rielly. If that wasn’t enough, PSU also returns the 2017-18 Freshman of the Year Kylie Jimenez (8.9 ppg) and fellow starter Courtney West (9.7 ppg, 2.5 bpg).

Northern Colorado came in third in the media poll (166 points) with four first-place votes. The Bears were then picked fourth in the coaches’ poll (70 points). The 2017-18 Big Sky Champions lost a lot from last year’s squad, but they do return last year’s MVP, Savannah Smith (18.4 ppg). Northern Colorado’s new head coach Jenny Huth will also welcome four newcomers to the team as the Bears attempt to win back-to-back conference titles.

Another team that flip-flopped near the top of the polls is Idaho State. The Bengals were selected third in the coaches’ poll (74 points) and fourth in the media poll (144). Idaho State returns four of five starters and led the league in scoring defense (63.0), field goal percentage (45.7%) and field goal percentage defense (38.2%) a year ago.

The rest of the coaches’ poll followed with Montana and Montana State in a tie for fifth (62 points), Eastern Washington in seventh (52 points), Weber State eighth (38 points), Sacramento State ninth (28 points), Northern Arizona 10th (21 points) and Southern Utah 11th (12 points)

The media poll was rounded out with Eastern Washington in fifth (131 points), Montana State in sixth (116 points), Montana in seventh (107 points), Weber State eighth (100 points), Sacramento State ninth (57 points), Northern Arizona in 10th (40 points) and Southern Utah in 11th (22 points).

Big Sky Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll

*Total points at right, first-place votes in parentheses.

1. Idaho — 99 (9)
2. Portland State — 87 (2)
3. Idaho State — 74
4. Northern Colorado — 70
T5. Montana — 62
T5. Montana State — 62
7. Eastern Washington — 52
8. Weber State — 38
9. Sacramento State — 28
10. Northern Arizona — 21
11. Southern Utah — 12

Big Sky Women’s Basketball Preseason Media Poll

*Total points at right, first-place votes in parentheses.

1. Idaho — 202 (13)
2. Portland State — 169 (2)
3. Northern Colorado — 166 (4)
4. Idaho State — 144
5. Eastern Washington — 131
6. Montana State — 116
7. Montana — 107
8. Weber State — 100
9. Sacramento State — 57
10. Northern Arizona — 40
11. Southern Utah — 22