Colorado State Picked to Win 2015-16 Mountain West Women's Basketball Title
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Mountain West announced its 2015-16 preseason women’s basketball poll and All-Conference team today to lead into the broadcast of the MW Women’s Basketball Season Preview Day on the Mountain West Network, powered by Campus Insiders. The voting panel consisted of the league’s 11 head coaches and select women’s basketball media from around the Conference.
Colorado State, the 2014 and 2015 MW regular-season champion, has been tabbed as the preseason favorite. The Rams received 12 first-place votes and 237 total points. New Mexico was picked second with seven first-place votes and 221 points, just ahead of last season’s tournament champion, Boise State. The Broncos garnered six first-place votes and 215 points for third place. Fresno State came in fourth with 182 points, while UNLV (138 points) edged out San Diego State (135 points) for fifth. Wyoming was selected seventh with 125 points and San José State garnered 93 points for eighth place. Utah State (79 points) edged out Nevada (78 points) for ninth place, followed by Air Force in 11th (26 points).
Wyoming senior Marquelle Dent was named the MW Preseason Player of the Year, the third season in a row that a Cowgirl has earned the award. Dent, a 5-7 guard from Denver, Colorado, was a first-team All-Mountain West and MW All-Defensive team selection last season, in addition to her WBCA honorable mention All-America recognition. Dent averaged 16.8 points and a league-leading 6.4 assists per game during Conference play in 2014-15. She is joined on the preseason team by Boise State junior Brooke Pahukoa, Colorado State junior Ellen Nystrom, New Mexico senior Khadijah Shumpert and Utah State sophomore Funda Nakkasoglu. It is the second year in a row that Nystrom has been named to the preseason squad. New Mexico rookie Jannon Otto has been named Preseason Freshman of the Year, while transfers Stephanie Schmid (Nevada) and Dezz Ramos (San José State) share the Preseason Newcomer of the Year honor.
The Mountain West will begin its 17th season of basketball competition on Friday, Nov. 13.
Preseason All-MW Team and Individual Award Player Profiles
Brooke Pahukoa, 5-9, Jr., G, Boise State
Pahukoa was the 2015 Mountain West Tournament Most Valuable Player, leading the Broncos to their first MW championship title … Averaged 10.9 points and 1.6 three-point field goals per game in Conference play while shooting 38.7 percent from the floor including 34.9 from three-point range … Set a school record for overall free throw percentage at 89.1 for the season … At one point had made 30 consecutive free throws, all during conference action … Reached double-figure scoring 17 times during the season and had three games with 20-plus points … Team’s top scorer in NCAA Tournament loss to No. 5 Tennessee with 22 points … Started every game in 2014-15 except Senior Night.
Ellen Nystrom, 6-1, Jr., G, Colorado State
Nystrom is a two-time All-Mountain West and MW Defensive team selection, leading the Rams to a second consecutive MW regular season championship in 2014-15 … Averaged 7.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in MW action last season … Shot 35.6 percent from the field and 63.8 from the free throw line … League leader in defensive rebounds with 6.8 per game … Was the only Ram to start all 31 contests in 2014-15 … Was tasked with guarding opponents’ biggest scoring threat, holding five of MW’s top scorers to a combined 24-100 (.240) from the field … Had a team-high 15 games in double-figure scoring.
Khadijah Shumpert, 6-0, Sr., F, New Mexico
Shumpert averaged 9.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 0.9 blocked shots per game for the Lobos last season in MW play … Shot 50.0 percent from the field and 70. 1 from the charity stripe, ranking ninth in league action … Had two of the three double-doubles recorded by a Lobo player in 2014-15 and a career-high 27 points against Cal Poly.
Funda Nakkasoglu, 5-7, So., G, Utah State
Nakkasoglu was the 2014-15 Mountain West Freshman of the Year and led the league with 18.9 points per game in Conference play … Was second in assists per game with 5.1 … Shot 41.0 percent from the field (sixth) and 81.3 from the free throw line (fifth) … Overall, held the second-highest scoring average among Division I freshmen … Scored in double figures 25 times during the season, including 11 games with 20-plus points … ended up in the top-7 on five Aggies single-season records lists – fourth in scoring (504; USU freshman record), fifth in field goals attempted (413), tied for fifth in free throws attempted (180), sixth in assists (136; USU freshman record) and seventh in scoring average (17.4 ppg).
Player of the Year – Marquelle Dent, 5-7, Sr., G, Wyoming
Dent, a 2014-15 WBCA honorable mention All-American, was named to the All-Mountain West and MW Defensive teams last season … Averaged 16.8 points, 6.4 assists, 2.4 steals per game and had a 1.7 assist/turnover ratio in MW action … Ranked among the top 10 in several MW stats categories, including first in assists and steals per game … On Cowgirls career lists, ranks sixth in assists (353) and 15th in steals (123) … Is 112 points away from reaching the 1,000-point career mark … Finished with double-figure points in 29-of-30 games, while leading the team in assists 26 times, steals 18 times and scoring 14 times.
Freshman of the Year – Jannon Otto, 6-1, G, New Mexico
Otto was the two-time High Desert League Player of the Year at Oak Hills High School in Victorville, California … Posted 2,184 career points and 1,106 rebounds at Oak Hills … As a senior, averaged 26.1 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.7 steals per contest … Hit the 20-point mark in all but four of the 28 games she played … Shot 63.0 percent from the field, 48.4 from 3-point range and 78.0 from the charity stripe … Ranked No. 25 at the guard/forward position by BlueStar … ESPNW rated her the No. 16 wing coming out of high school, along with a three-star rating.
Newcomer of the Year – Stephanie Schmid, 5-10, G, Jr., Nevada
Schmid is a junior college transfer from Arizona Western College … As a sophomore, was an NJCAA All-American and the ACCAC Player of the Year … Was a two-time Region I Division I honoree (1st team as a sophomore and 2nd team as a freshman) and a two-time All-ACCAC team member … Named All-ACCAC Player of the Week four times over two years … Last year, ranked first in the nation with 126 made 3-pointers, third in free throw percentage (90.4) and ninth in scoring (20.8 ppg) … Was the only player in the nation to average four made 3-pointers per game … Scored over 1,000 points in her two years at Arizona Western.
Newcomer of the Year – Dezz Ramos, 5-7, PG, Jr., San José State
Ramos is a transfer from Weber State and sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules … Averaged 12.6 points and 4.6 assists in 2013-14 for the Wildcats … Led WSU in assists and 3-pointers per game both seasons and led the team in scoring as a freshman … Led all Big Sky freshmen in scoring and assists … As a sophomore, had two 30-plus point games, five 20-plus efforts and two double-doubles … Named the Utah High School Female Athlete of the Year as a senior and was a first-team all-state and all-region honoree … Earned all-state honors as a junior and all-region accolades as a sophomore and freshman.
Preseason Player of the Year: Marquelle Dent, Sr., G, Wyoming
Preseason Freshman of the Year: Jannon Otto, Fr., G, New Mexico
Preseason Co-Newcomers of the Year: Stephanie Schmid, Jr., G, Nevada; Dezz Ramos, Jr., PG, San José State