The Mountain West Conference women’s basketball preseason poll lists New Mexico in fourth place among the 11 conference teams. The conference released the poll Tuesday during its media days in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Fresno State is slated to be in the top spot in the poll, receiving 17 first-place votes. Wyoming and San Diego State are ahead of UNM as well. UNLV is fifth, followed by Utah State, Colorado State, Boise State, San Jose State, Nevada and Air Force.
The Lobos finished fourth in the MWC last season with a 17-14 record. They return seniors Sara Halasz, Deeva Vaughn and reigning MWC Sixth Player of the Year junior Antiesha Brown.
UNM head coach Yvonne Sanchez in a release spoke to the conference’s competitiveness and said the league title race is wide open.“I think this poll reflects just how competitive the conference will be,” she said. “While our place in the poll doesn’t come as a surprise, it doesn’t change this team’s goal. We want to compete for a conference championship.”
Wyoming junior forward Kayla Woodward earned the Preseason Player of the Year award, SDSU guard Chloe Johnson was named Preseason Freshman of the Year and SDSU senior center Cierra Warren is the Preseason Newcomer of the Year.
The Lobos do not have a player on the preseason all-conference team. Woodward, Colorado State senior forward Sam Martin, Fresno State senior guard Taylor Thompson, SDSU forward Erimma Amarikwa and SJSU junior guard Ta’Rea Cunnigan made the team.
Conference USA named UNM goalkeeper Michael Lisch as its defensive player of the week.
Lisch surrendered one goal in his last 404 minutes of play. He had a shutout in UNM’s 1-0 win at Tulsa Oct. 9 and gave up a goal in the Lobos’ 2-1 victory over Florida International. The wins moved UNM into sole possession of first place in the conference standings.
This season Lisch has a conference-leading five shutouts. The Lobos host Florida Atlantic Saturday at 1 p.m.
UNM’s Sammi Stevens carded a three-round score of 209 to take fourth place as the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational ended Tuesday in Austin, Texas.
Stevens’ best score came in the final round when she shot a 67. She scored a 70 and a 72 in her earlier rounds.
As a team UNM placed 14th with an 895. UCLA won the tournament, followed by Arizona State, Miami, Iowa State and Southern Methodist.
Also for the Lobos, Manon De Roey was 34th with a 221, Sofia Hoglund had a 232 for 72nd, Katerina Jaeger recorded a 238 for 87th and Manon Molle’ was 88th with a 240.
“It’s a difficult course the first time you play it and it was another learning experience for our freshmen,” UNM coach Jill Trujillo said in a release. “I think they are disappointed, but that’s good because that means you go out and work harder.”
The UNM women return to action Oct. 27-29 at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown hosted by UNLV.