Idaho State women picked to defend title

OGDEN, Utah — Idaho State has been selected by the coaches and the media to win the Big Sky women’s basketball title in 2012-13. The Bengals are coming off their third NCAA Tournament appearance.

The polls were release on Wednesday by the conference office. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.

Idaho State received eight first-place votes in the coaches’ poll for a total of 97 points. The media gave the Bengals 154 points and eight first-place votes. Head coach Seton Sobloewski enters his fifth season at the helm of ISU, where he has collected a record of 68-55. The Bengals received the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament in 2012 after defeating Northern Colorado in the championship game.

ISU lost starter in Chelsea Pickering, and return Kaela Oakes, Ashleigh Vella, Lindsey Reed and Cydney Horton. Oakes was named All-Conference First Team, while Vella was Honorable Mention. Reed and Vella were named the All-Tournament Team. ISU finished last season with a 24-8 overall record and 14-2 conference record.

Northern Colorado was picked second by the media and coaches. The Bears received 88 points and one first-place vote from the coaches, and 146 points and four first-place votes from the media. NC is coached by Jaime White, who enters her seventh season. She has a 82-100 record and helped lead NC to postseason last season as it played in the Women’s Basketball Invitational.

NC lost starter Kaisha Brown, but return their other four. D’shara Strange was named Defensive Player of the Year last season and named Outstanding Freshman a year earlier. Lauren Oosdyke was named All-Conference Honorable Mention. Victoria Timm and Strange were named to the All-Tournament Team.

Montana was picked third by both the coaches and media. The Lady Griz received 77 points and two first-place votes from the coaches and 135 points and three first-place votes from the media. UM went into the Big Sky Tournament as the fifth seed and lost to Montana State in the quarterfinals. A year earlier, the Lady Griz won the Big Sky Tournament and played in their 19th NCAA Tournament.

Head Coach Robin Selvig enters his 35th season with the Lady Griz and has a 774-247 record. Selvig is tied with Villanova’s Harry Perretta as the nation’s longest-tenured Division I coach at the same school. Montana returns all five of its starters from a year ago, including All-Conference First Team Katie Baker.

Montana State was picked fourth in both polls. The coaches gave the Bobcats 72 points, while the media gave them 127. Montana State returns four starters to their roster with losing All-Conference First Team Katie Bussey. The Bobcats are coached by Tricia Binford, who is in her eighth season with MSU and she has a 103-106 record.

Picked fifth by the coaches was Portland State. The coaches gave PSU 63 points, while the media selected the Vikings seventh with 83 points. Portland State is under the direction of Sherri Murrell, who enters her sixth season with a 98-60 record. The Vikings return four starters to the lineup, including Top Newcomer Kate Lanz.

Newcomer North Dakota was picked sixth by the coaches with 53 points and fifth by the media with 95 points. UND’s head coach J. Travis Brewster is in his first season with North Dakota but has been in some capacity with the program for nine seasons, including the associate head coach last season.

Rounding out the coaches poll was Sacramento State (7th, 50 points), Eastern Washington (8th, 40 points), Northern Arizona (9th, 28 points), Weber State (10th, 17 points) and Southern Utah (11th, 13 points). Rounding out the media poll was Sacramento State (6th, 83 points), Eastern Washington (8th, 65 points), Northern Arizona (9th, 53 points), Southern Utah (10th, 26 points) and Weber State (11th, 25 points).

The 2012-13 basketball season starts November 9, and the conference season begins on December 20. The Big Sky Women’s Basketball Championships is slated for March 14-16 and will be hosted by the regular-season champion.

 — Big Sky Conference Sports Information

Women’s Preseason Poll