Big Sky Conference

Idaho women selected as Big Sky preseason favorites


OGDEN, Utah (October 18, 2018) – 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.

Portland State guard Sidney Rielly (2)/ by Brooks Nuanez

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 percent) and field goal percentage defense (38.2 percent) 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

  1. Idaho                          99 (9)
  2. Portland State            87 (2)
  3. Idaho State                 74
  4. Northern Colorado     70
  5. Montana                      62

 Montana State            62

  1.  Eastern Washington   52
  2.  Weber State               38
  3.  Sacramento State       28
  4.  Northern Arizona        21
  5.  Southern Utah            12

Big Sky Women’s Basketball Preseason Media Poll

  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

About Colter Nuanez

Colter Nuanez is the co-founder and senior writer for Skyline Sports. After spending six years in the newspaper industry with stops at the Missoulian, the Ellensburg Daily Record and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the former Washington Newspaper Association Sportswriter of the Year and University of Montana Journalism School graduate ('09) has cultivated a deep passion for sports journalism during his 13-year career covering the Big Sky Conference. In August of 2014, Colter and brother Brooks merged their passions of writing and art to found Skyline Sports.

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