For the third year in a row, the Boise State women’s basketball team has been chosen as the favorite to win the Mountain West Conference.
The Broncos received 25 of 29 first-place votes in a preseason poll of the league’s 11 coaches and select media members released Thursday. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.
Boise State totaled 305 points, while New Mexico was second with 280 points and three first-place votes. Fresno State (228), Wyoming (201) and San Diego State (192) rounded out the top five in the poll. San Jose State, which was picked to finish last, received the other first-place vote.
The Broncos have won three consecutive Mountain West Tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament four times in the last five seasons. While they graduated two seniors from a 2018-19 team that went 28-5, this year’s squad could be just as talented.
Six-foot-5 junior Mallory McGwire is eligible to play for the Broncos after sitting out last season as a transfer from Oregon. The Broncos also return All-Mountain West standout guards Braydey Hodgins and Riley Lupfer as well as starters Jayde Christopher and A’Shanti Coleman.
Hodgins was voted the conference’s preseason player of the year, while Lupfer joined her on the five-player preseason all-conference team along with New Mexico senior guard Aisia Robertson, Fresno State junior forward Maddi Utti and New Mexico sophomore guard Jayla Everett. Hodgins led the Broncos in scoring at 13.2 points per game last season and was voted the Mountain West Tournament MVP. Lupfer, who was the league’s preseason player of the year last season, was the Broncos’ second-leading scorer at 11.1 points per game.
McGwire was chosen as the newcomer of the year, and Fresno State’s Haley Cavinder and New Mexico’s Corina Carter shared freshman of the year honors.
The Broncos, which received 15 points in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 Poll released earlier this week, open the season with an exhibition game at 4 p.m. Saturday against Concordia at ExtraMile Arena. Their official season opener is Tuesday against Lewis-Clark State College. The women’s game tips off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the Boise State men vs. Life Pacific at 8 p.m.
2019-20 Preseason Mountain West Poll
First-place votes are in parentheses
1. Boise State (25), 305
2. New Mexico (3), 280
3. Fresno State, 228
4. Wyoming, 201
5. San Diego State, 192
6. Colorado State, 185
7. UNLV, 130
8. Utah State, 116
9. Nevada, 115
10. Air Force, 85
11. San Jose State (1), 77