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Montana State Bobcats women picked to win Big Sky Conference

Montana Lady Griz 5th, 7th in polls
Oliana Squires
Posted at 2:00 PM, Oct 17, 2019

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

FARMINGTON, Utah – Montana State has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2019-20 Big Sky women’s basketball title according to the coaches’ and media polls.

The Bobcats secured five first-place votes (89 points) in the coaches’ poll and seven first-place votes (155 points) in the media poll. The Bobcats went 11-9 in conference play last season and made it to the Big Sky Tournament quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Portland State.

This season the Bobcats return a solid core of players including seniors Oliana Squires (11.4 ppg) and Martha Kuderer (10.0 ppg). Also added to this season’s roster is transfer and the preseason MVP Fallyn Freije who joins the Bobcats after a two-year stint at North Dakota.

Idaho was picked to finish second in both polls. The Vandals received three first-place votes (88 points) in the coaches’ poll and one first-place vote (148) in the media poll. The Vandals are reloaded for the 2019-20 season after losing their top two scorers in Mikayla Ferenz and Taylor Pierce. Returning for the Vandals is last season’s Big Sky Freshman of the Year, Gina Marxen (8.6 ppg). Marxen will team up with the Klinker sisters, Lizzy (9.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and Natalie (5.4 ppg, 7.8 rpg) to fuel a potent Vandal offense.

Last season’s tournament winner Portland State was picked third in the preseason polls. The Vikings received three first-place votes (147 points) in the media and two first-place votes (73 points) in the coaches’ poll. Portland State returns last year’s top reserve, Desirae Hansen (7.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg) along with Kylie Jimenez (11.5 ppg, 4.7 apg), a two-time All-Big Sky selection and the 2017-18 freshman of the year.

Coming in fourth in both polls is Idaho State who received three first-place votes (140 points) in the media poll and also accumulated 70 points in the coaches’ poll. The Bengals lost two key players from the 2018-19 squad but return Estefania Ors (12.8 ppg) who was an All-Big Sky selection last year.

Three other teams also received votes in the media poll. Northern Colorado received three first-place votes (131 points) to come in fifth. Eastern Washington received one first-place vote (126 points) to finish sixth in the poll. Montana was the final team to garner first-place votes and received two of them (116 points), finishing seventh in the poll.

The final four teams in the media poll were as follows with Northern Arizona in eighth (83 points), Sacramento State in ninth (62 votes), Southern Utah in 10th (52 points), and Weber State in 11th (28 points).

In the coaches’ poll, Montana finished with one first-place vote and in fifth (63 points), Northern Colorado in sixth (57 points), Eastern Washington in seventh (52 points), Northern Arizona in eighth (48 points), Southern Utah in ninth (32 points), Sacramento State in 10th (19 points), and Weber State in 11th (14 points).

The 2019-20 season gets underway on Tuesday, November 5 with seven teams in action. Conference play begins Saturday, December 28 as teams take part in a 20-game double round-robin format for the second straight season.

The 2020 Big Sky Basketball Championships presented by My Place Hotels take place March 9-14 at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho. Tickets go on sale next week.

2019-20 Big Sky Women’s Basketball Preseason Media Poll

(First-place votes in parentheses)


School
Points
1.
Montana State (7)
155
2.
Idaho (1)
148
3.
Portland State (3)
147
4.
Idaho State (3)
140
5.
Northern Colorado (4)
131
6.
Eastern Washington (1)
126
7.
Montana (2)
116
8.
Northern Arizona
83
9.
Sacramento State
62
10.
Southern Utah
52
11.
Weber State
28

2019-20 Big Sky Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll

(First-place votes in parentheses)


School
Points
1.
Montana State (5)
89
2.
Idaho (3)
88
3.
Portland State (2)
73
4.
Idaho State
70
5.
Montana (1)
63
6.
Northern Colorado
57
7.
Eastern Washington
52
8.
Northern Arizona
48
9.
Southern Utah
32
10.
Sacramento State
19
11.
Weber State
14