Cowgirls Picked to Finish Fourth in MW Basketball Race

From the desk of Sean O’Sullivan

The Wyoming Cowgirls, who will give fans a peek at what’s ahead when they host Western Colorado in an exhibition game at the AA Friday night, were picked to finish fourth in the MW Conference in the pre-season poll of the league’s 11 head coach and and selected media members covering MW women’s basketball. 

Defending MW champion Boise State was selected to finish first in the league, receiving 19 first-place votes and 229 points. UNLV received four first-place votes and 208 points to place second, while Fresno State was picked third with 175 points.

The Cowgirls earned 158 points for their fourth-place prediction. Following Wyoming, New Mexico (150 points) and Colorado State (128 points) were picked to place fifth and sixth, respectively. Nevada was picked seventh with 115 points, while Utah State garnered 86 points to place eighth. Rounding out  the pre-season poll, San Diego State was picked ninth with 64 points, Air Force ended up 10th with 57 points, and San José State was picked 11th with 27 points. 

Selected to the pre-season all-Mountain West team is Boise State’s Riley Lupfer and Marta Hermida, Fresno State’s Candice White, New Mexico’s Jaisa Nunn and UNLV’s Katie Powell. Lupfer is the pre-season Player of the Year honors, and teammate Jade Lovil-le was picked as the Freshman of the Year. Mollie Mounsey of Colorado State was named the pre-season Newcomer of the Year.

Wyoming returns three starters and nine letter winners from last year's team that was 22-11 overall and 13-5 in Mountain West play. The 13 conference wins tied a school record, helping the Cowgirls put together back-to-back 20+ win seasons for the fifth time under head coach Joe Legerski.

Junior Taylor Rusk, who averaged 10.1 points per game, is the top returning scorer. Senior Marta Gomez scored 8.5 points per game off the bench, and was named the Mountain West's Sixth Player of the Year for the second season in a row.

Senior Bailee Cotton led the way defensively for the Cowgirls, bringing down 6.2 rebounds per game and collecting 1.2 steals per game, and was named to the Mountain West's All-Defensive team. Senior Clara Tapia led the Mountain West with a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio and directed the Cowgirl offense by averaging 4.3 assists per game.

 

2018-19 MW PRESEASON PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

Rank/School (First-Place Votes)     Points   

1. Boise State (19)                                229 

2. UNLV (4)                                             208 

3. Fresno State                                      175 

4. Wyoming                                            158 

5. New Mexico                                      150 

6. Colorado State                                  128 

7. Nevada                                                115 

8. Utah State                                          86 

9. San Diego State                                64 

10. Air Force                                           57 

11. San Jose State                                27 

 

2018-19 MW PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM

Riley Lupfer, Jr., G, Boise State 

Marta Hermida, Sr., G, Boise State

Candice White, Sr., G, Fresno State

Jaisa Nunn, Sr., C, New Mexico 

Katie Powell, Sr., F/C, UNLV

 

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Riley Lupfer, Jr., G, Boise State

 

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR

Jade Loville, G, Boise State

 

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

Mollie Mounsey, Jr., G, Colorado State