Women's Basketball Picked to Win MW
2013-14 Mountain West WBB
Preseason Poll
Rank Team (1st Place Votes) Points
1 Fresno State (17) 238
2 Wyoming (4) 212
3 San Diego State (2) 196
4 New Mexico 185
5 UNLV (2) 170
6 Utah State 136
7 Colorado State 130
8 Boise State 96
9 San Jose State 76
10 Nevada 62
11 Air Force 28
Preseason All-Conference Team
Name, Position Class Institution
Sam Martin, F Sr. Colorado State
Taylor Thompson, G Sr. Fresno State
Erimma Amarikwa, F Jr. San Diego State
Ta'Rea Cunnigan, G Jr. San Jose State
Kayla Woodward, F Jr. Wyoming
Preseason Player of the Year
Kayla Woodward, Jr. F, Wyoming
Preseason Freshman of the Year
Chloe Johnson, G, San Diego State
Preseason Newcomer of the Year
Cierra Warren, C, Sr., San Diego State
Oct. 15, 2013

By Jason Clay

MW Release on Preseason Poll

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Fresno State women's basketball team has been picked to win the 2013-14 Mountain West women's basketball title in the preseason poll announced Tuesday at the MW Women's Basketball Media Days activities at the MW Network Studio in Colorado Springs.

The voting panel consisted of the league's 11 head coaches and select women's basketball media from around the Conference.

In addition to the preseason poll, the league also announced the 2013-14 women's basketball preseason all-conference team. Senior guard Taylor Thompson was the lone Bulldog to make the five-member team, as she is coming off her 2012-13 campaign where she averaged 10.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists.

Fresno State, the 2013 MW tournament champion, received 17 first-place votes and 238 total points. Wyoming was picked second with four first-place votes and 212 points, ahead of 2013 regular-season champion San Diego State. The Aztecs garnered two first-place votes and 196 points. New Mexico placed fourth with 185 points, while UNLV earned two first-place votes and 170 points for fifth place. Conference newcomer Utah State (136 points) edged out Colorado State (130 points) for sixth place. Boise State was picked eighth (96 points), followed by MW newcomer San José State (76 points) in ninth, Nevada in 10th (62 points) and Air Force in 11th (28 points).

The Mountain West will begin its 15th season of basketball competition on Friday, Nov. 8.

The two-day media event at the new MW Network Studio will preview the upcoming season with all 11 head coaches. Fresno State head coach Raegan Pebley will participate in the media day activities on Wednesday.

Pebley also previewed the upcoming season in the Q&A session with GoBulldogs.com...

Q: Entering your second year in the program, what can we expect to see from this year's team?
A: "Our team will always want our fans to expect that we are continually giving our best and value the opportunity to be representatives of Fresno State. Our effort, investment and commitment on the floor and in the classroom should be a reflection of this."

Q: After a strong 24-win season and winning the MW Tournament, what are the goals this year for the team?
"Wins and championships take care of themselves when a program focuses on a process of getting better every single day. So instead of focusing on a record or the past, we will focus on evaluating ourselves with a humble and hungry heart. Our goals will be to invest collectively and individually all that we can give. We also want to be a very tough team; a team that is hard to beat because we are mentally and physically strong. We trust that good things will happen when we do these things."

Q: The early talk from practice has been how well this group works together, can you talk a little bit about the team chemistry?
"The team has really poured into each other's lives on and off the floor. We have asked them to be honest with each other, compete with each other and communicate with each other. It is so much fun to watch how they are all leading and allowing themselves to be lead. Their relationships really solidified as they were able to be here this summer going to school and getting their workouts in together. This is just one example of how the Bulldog Foundation and their members support our student-athletes. Without them, I don't know if summer school is a real possibility."

Q: How beneficial will it be to have good depth this year, both for in practice and for in games?
"Right now we are seeing depth results be only positive. There is true competition in practice which makes our team better and practices more fun. We hope to see this carry over to game time. We also hope to see our players more fresh later in the season."

Q: With the added depth, what can we expect to see from the large group of newcomers?
"We are working a lot on adding depth in our point guard position. We have a few young points that have a great leadership habits and will develop with time into great point guards. They have an opportunity to be mentored by Taylor Thompson. Being mentored takes a willingness on both parties, the mentor and the mentored. We are seeing this take place every day in practice."

Q: Last year the team ranked third in the nation in steals, can we expect to see more of the same pressure defense this year?
"Defense has always been something our team has worked very hard at. We are practicing every day at building trust, consistency and accountability on the defensive end. As this improves, the sky is the limit to what our defense can do. Rosie played a very important role for us defensively and we will need to replace her confidence and leadership."

Q: Talk about your two seniors Taylor Thompson and Bree Farley, both have played in a lot of games in their careers...
"Our staff considers ourselves so blessed to have two women of their character as leaders in our program. They love their team and they love their university. They have both been very intentional with their off-season preparation and should feel very confident in their ability to play the roles we have asked them to play."

Q: Alex Sheedy got international experience playing for the Emerging Opals team this summer, what can we expect to see from her as she enters her junior season?
"This was one of Alex's first off-seasons that she has been healthy. That combined with the experience playing with the Emerging Opals are both only positive. She is stronger and more confident. She has been working on developing more as a perimeter threat which can add even more to her already versatile skill set."

Q: Two players who didn't play last season were Alex Furr and Moriah Faulk. What are their strengths that they will bring to the team?
"They both bring a hunger to compete and play this game that for so long they were unable to play. That alone is huge. We knew that they both could be shooting threats and could really stretch the defense with their abilities to shoot. We have been impressed with their commitment to the defensive end as well. We are seeing their confidence continue to grow as they continue to get more and more reps."

Q: The schedule this year is one that you have to see as favorable with a strong amount of home games, especially in December. Do you feel it will have your team prepared for when conference play rolls around?
"Again, if we focus on one day at a time and the process of always getting better the wins, whether preseason or conference, MW tourney or NCAA tourney, home or away, will take care of themselves."

Q: Robin Draper was one of the key players off the bench last season. How has she progressed over the summer?
"Robin was in the gym and the weight room nearly every day. She is a worker and knows that hard work will win nearly all the time. She is still a great shooter, but has become a more confident finisher and has improved her vision as well."

Q: We know a lot about the strength of our guard play, but can you talk a little about our post players and the development of Jacinta Vandenberg...
"Jacinta also has really grown as well. She spent a lot of hours with her coaches and on her own in the gym. She also worked a lot with our strength coach, Johnny Olguin, and invested extra time in her flexibility with Bikram yoga. These things have all lead to her becoming a more fluid player."

"Catch the Wave" - ESPN2 790 AM is the home of the Fresno State women's basketball team.



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