Broncos picked for third straight WAC Championship.
The Western Athletic Conference released its preseason basketball polls this morning and the Boise State women were picked to repeat as regular season champions by both the league’s coaches and media. The Broncos set a pair of school records the last two seasons with back-to-back conference titles and postseason tournament appearances.
Boise State returns the bulk of last season’s squad including two starters, eight letterwinners, and five redshirts. In addition, the Broncos added two talented true freshmen. Leading the group of returners is Tasha Harris who was a 2008 All-WAC first team honoree last spring.
Harris begins her senior season as the only Boise State player to appear in either the coaches or media’s preseason teams. Harris was selected as a member of the coaches’ All-WAC first team while the media in addition to placing her on their All-WAC team also picked the senior from Longmont, Colo., as the conference’s player of the year. This is the second straight season that Harris has made the coaches’ preseason roster after second team recognition last year. Harris was ranked in the top 10 in five conference statistical categories last year including ranked first in scoring at 16.5 points per game, second in assists at 3.53 apg, and third in assist/turnover ratio 1.13.
The Broncos officially open the season on November 14 when they host Seattle University at 6:00 p.m. in a doubleheader with the men’s team.
Following are the official press releases from the Western Athletic Conference.
WAC COACHES SELECT BOISE STATE, CRINER AS PRESEASON FAVORITES
DENVER Boise State is the preseason favorite to win the Western Athletic Conference, while Nevada senior Dellena Criner was selected the WAC’s Preseason Player of the Year in a vote of the league’s nine head coaches, who could not vote for their own team or players.
The Broncos received 61 points and five first-place votes to beat out Fresno State for the top spot. The Bulldogs captured second place with 58 points and three first-place votes. Louisiana Tech took third place with 46 points, followed closely by Nevada in fourth place with 41 points and Hawaii in fifth place with 39 points. Utah State was selected sixth with 25 points and the remaining first-place vote. Hawaii (24), San Jose State (19) and Idaho (11) rounded out the poll.
Criner, a first-team All-WAC selection a year ago, leads the list of Preseason All-WAC honorees. Joining her on the first team are Shanavia Dowdell of Louisiana Tech, Tasha Harris of Boise State, and Hayley Munro and Jaleesa Ross of Fresno State.
Second-team selections include Brandi Fitzgerald (Nevada), Danyelle Snelgro (Utah State), Madison Spence (New Mexico State), Natalie White (San Jose State) and Tarkeisha Wysinger (Louisiana Tech).
Boise State and Fresno State tied for the regular-season WAC title last year with 14-2 records. The Broncos advanced to the second round of the WNIT, while Fresno State fell to No. 12 Baylor in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
2008-09 Preseason Women’s Basketball Coaches Poll
Rank Teams (1st Place Votes) Points
1. Boise State (5) 61
2. Fresno State (3) 58
3. Louisiana Tech 46
4. Nevada 41
5. New Mexico State 39
6. Utah State (1) 25
7. Hawaii 24
8. San Jose State 19
9. Idaho 11
Preseason All-WAC Teams
First Team Second Team
Dellena Criner, Sr., G, NEV Brandi Fitzgerald, Sr., G, NEV
Shanavia Dowdell, Jr., F, LTU Danyelle Snelgro, Sr., G, USU
Tasha Harris, Sr., G, BSU Madison Spence, So., G, NMSU
Hayley Munro, So., F, FS Natalie White, Sr., G, SJSU
Jaleesa Ross, So., G, FS Tarkeisha Wysinger, So., G, LTU
Preseason Player of the Year: Dellena Criner, Nevada
WAC WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON MEDIA POLL, ALL-WAC TEAMS ANNOUNCED
DENVER The Western Athletic Conference women’s basketball media have selected Boise State as the preseason favorite to win the conference crown during the 2008-09 season. Fresno State senior guard Tasha Harris was selected the WAC’s Preseason Player of the Year.
Boise State, which tied for first place in last year’s regular-season standings, received 15 first-place votes, earning 189 points. Fresno State was picked to finish second with 179 points and five first-place votes, followed by Louisiana Tech with 139 points and one first-place vote. Nevada was picked to finish fourth with 134 points, followed by New Mexico State with 122 points and the other first-place vote. In sixth place was Hawaii with 83 points, with Utah State following in seventh with 66 points. Idaho was slated to finish eighth with 40 points and San Jose State was picked to finish ninth with 38 points.
Boise State’s Harris was voted Player of the Year and is the on the preseason Al-WAC team. She was a first team All-WAC selection last year after leading the league in scoring. Nevada’s Dellena Criner was also named to the Preseason All-WAC team. Harris and Criner were the only two returning first team All-WAC honorees from last season. Last year’s WAC Newcomer of the Year, Jaleesa Ross of Fresno State, Louisiana Tech’s Shanavia Dowdell and New Mexico State’s Madison Spence round out this year’s team.
2008-09 Preseason Women’s Basketball Media Poll
Rank Teams (1st Place Votes) Points
1. Boise State (15) 189
2. Fresno State (5) 179
3. Louisiana Tech (1) 139
4. Nevada 134
5. New Mexico State (1) 122
6. Hawaii 83
7. Utah State 66
8. Idaho 40
9. San Jose State 38
Preseason All-WAC Team
Dellena Criner, G, Sr., Nevada
Shanavia Dowdell, F, Jr., Louisiana Tech
Tasha Harris, G, Sr., Boise State
Jaleesa Ross, G, So., Fresno State
Madison Spence, G, So., New Mexico State
Player of the Year: Tasha Harris, Boise State