MSU’s Peyton Ferris named Big Sky preseason MVP

OGDEN, Utah — Montana forward Kayleigh Valley lit up scoreboards all over #BigSkyWBB in the 2015-16 season, ending in first team All-Big Sky honors for the forward.

The  press corps believed Valley would do the same in the 2016-17 season, selecting the senior forward as the Road to Reno Preseason MVP. However, a season-ending injury for Valley changed the narrative, elevating Montana State’s Peyton Ferris to Preseason MVP honors.

Bobcats guard Peyton Ferris, a Twin Bridges native, made the list, after averaging 15 points a game in the 2015-16 season for MSU. She was named Big Sky Reserve of the Year, at the season’s end.

Valley averaged 21.9 points per game in her junior year at Montana, and helped lead the Lady Griz to a fifth seed in the 2016  Championship, in Reno, Nevada.

The Preseason All-Conference team was filled with other players that had large impacts on their team performances. Two postseason award winners from last season made the list, representing Montana State, with Ferris joining teammate Riley Nordgaard.

Nordgaard transferred in to Bozeman, hoping to make a mark with the Bobcats. Nordgaard did that last season, earning the Big Sky Newcomer of the Year award, averaging 10.9 points a game, as Montana State claimed the regular season  crown.

Delaney Hodgins played a large role in Eastern Washington’s second seed in the 2016 Road to Reno, averaging 15.7 points as a sophomore. Now, the Eagles’ junior leader will hope to lead Eastern Washington to its first  title, and NCAA berth. Hodgins was second team All-Big Sky in the 2015-16 season.

The Idaho Vandals, in their second season playing Big Sky women’s basketball, claimed the conference’s tournament title, earning a championship win over Idaho State, to head to the NCAA tournament. The Vandals had several strong players, including sophomore post Geraldine McCorkell. McCorkell makes the Big Sky women’s basketball Preseason All-Conference list, after averaging 11.4 points in the 2015-16 season.

Sacramento State is well known for its prolific offense, and one of the best shooter the Hornets have is guard Brianna Burgos. The Sacramento, Calif., native was named to the Preseason All-Conference list, after averaging 14.4 points a game in 2015-16, while making 86 three-point shots.

Southern Utah’s Jessica Richardson made the list, after averaging 12.8 points a game in the 2015-16 season. Richardson, a senior forward from Kaysville, Utah, also was an effective rebounder, averaging 8.1 rebounds a game.

Big Sky media members and sports information directors voted in the Media Poll.

— Big Sky Conference