Big Sky Conference

NAU’s Rasheed named Preseason MVP; Five others named to All-Conference team

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FARMINGTON, Utah (November 12, 2020) – Northern Arizona’s Khiarica Rasheed has been named the 2020-21 Big Sky Preseason MVP by the league’s coaches and media members.  A total of six student-athletes from five institutions made the preseason all-conference team.

Gina Marxen and Beyonce Bea (Idaho), Darian White (Montana State), Dora Goles (Idaho State), and Alisha Davis (Northern Colorado) all joined Rasheed on the preseason team.

Rasheed led NAU to one of its best seasons this century, averaging Scoring 18.9 points per contest in 20 conference games last season. The scoring total came in at 1.6 points per game more than any other player in the league, and Rasheed did so while hitting 49.6 percent of her shots from the field, the second-best in the Big Sky.

Rasheed also finished fourth in the Big Sky in rebounding, averaging 8.2 per game during the conference schedule, and easily led in free-throw attempts and makes with 96 and 126, respectively. Hitting 76.2 percent from the line, Rasheed also finished 14th among all players in the conference.

“It is just a testament to the hard work I have put in over the years, but we want something greater here, a championship,” Rasheed said in an NAU press release. “So the job’s not done.”

No player in NAU history has earned the honor of Big Sky Conference Preseason MVP or has been a member of the preseason All-Big Sky Conference team dating back to the Big Sky Conference’s initial team in 2015.

“For her, the work that she put it every year in the offseason and I think that our coaches did with her player development has been huge,” said NAU head coach Loree Payne. “You see it every year, she adds an element to her game. For her to be Preseason MVP doesn’t surprise me at all.”

Rasheed enters her senior season as the conference’s returning leading scorer from a year ago.  She also eclipsed the 1,000 career point mark last season and became the 18th player in NAU history to accomplish this.

Rasheed also finished last season second in field goal performance and sixth in rebounding as she helped NAU to their eighth semifinal berth in school history at the Big Sky Tournament and their first since the 2006-07 season.

“For her, the work that she put it every year in the offseason and I think that our coaches did with her player development has been huge,” said NAU head coach Loree Payne. “You see it every year, she adds an element to her game. For her to be Preseason MVP doesn’t surprise me at all.”

The Idaho duo of Marxen and Bea join Rasheed on the preseason all-conference team.

Idaho’s Gina Marxen/ by Brooks Nuanez

Marxen returns for her junior year after a sophomore campaign that saw her earn Big Sky first-team honors.  The point guard from Sammamish, Wash., averaged 13.3 points and 4.5 assists per game in 2019-20 for the Vandals and was ranked sixth and fifth, respectively.

Bea earned third-team All-Big Sky honors last year and finished with a 12.6 point scoring average to finish fifth in the conference.  The hybrid guard/post player also finished the season with 5.8 rebounds.

White begins her sophomore campaign after a stellar rookie season that saw her named the Big Sky Freshman of the Year in 2019-20.  White averaged 12.7 points per game for the Bobcats to finish last year ninth in that category.  She was also second in steals with 2.5 takeaways and 10th in assists with 3.4 per game.

“Darian established herself as one of the top players in the Big Sky Conference as a freshman,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford in an MSU press release. “I think she turned a lot of heads with her ability and she was performing at a very high level at the Big Sky Tournament.

“Darian has worked hard for everything she’s earned,” Binford added. “She never takes a play off, whether it’s in practice or a game. She has also developed into a fantastic leader and we are looking forward to her running the team this season.” 

Goles returns to lead the Bengals after finishing the 2019-20 season with 12.7 points, 3.1 assists, and 2.1 steals per game during her junior season.  Goles was fourth in the conference in steals per game and earned second-team all-conference honors a season ago.

Davis rounds out the preseason all-conference list after a strong showing during her freshman campaign.  Davis was a Big Sky honorable mention a year ago and finished the season as a team leader with 12.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

The 2020-21 season will get underway on November 25 and will feature a 20-game conference schedule that will begin on December 3 and will finish with the Big Sky Basketball Tournament on March 8-13 at Idaho Central Arena in Boise, Idaho

The 2020-21 Big Sky women’s basketball preseason polls will be announced tomorrow, November 10, at 10 a.m. MT.

2020-21 Big Sky Women’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team
NamePositionClassSchoolHometown
Khiarica RasheedForwardSeniorNorthern ArizonaPortland, Ore.
Gina MarxenGuardJuniorIdahoSammamish, Wash.
Darian WhiteGuardSophomoreMontana StateBoise, Idaho
Beyonce BeaGuard/ForwardSophomoreIdahoWashougal, Wash.
Dora GolesGuardSeniorIdaho StateSplit, Croatia
Alisha DavisForwardSophomoreNorthern ColoradoAurora, Colo.

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