Race for women?s title is wide open

By Paige Fieldsted , Sports Editor

The women’s side of Mountain West Conference basketball is as wide-open as the men’s. Last season, Utah and San Diego State shared the regular-season title, but Utah edged out the Aztecs in the tournament finals to win the championship.

San Diego State lost only two seniors last season and received all but three of the first-place votes in the preseason polls. TCU, which returns a similar amount of experience to the court, was picked to finish second. Utah was chosen to finish third after losing a major contributor, Morgan Warburton. and New Mexico and Wyoming round out the top five. Wyoming is the only team in the top five to have no losses so far this season, as they hold a perfect at 6-0.

Colorado State, which is picked to finish eighth in the conference, and New Mexico and TCU all have records of 5-2, while Utah and BYU are the only other teams to have winning records at 4-3 and 3-2, respectively.

San Diego State started the season with a 3-3 record, while UNLV and Air Force have a combined three wins on the season. Although UNLV was picked to finish seventh this season, it upset BYU and TCU in the MWC Tournament last year en route to a semi-final appearance in the tournament. Air Force will be looking to improve on its 0-16 conference record from last season.

Upsets were the theme of last season’s conference play for the women, and like the men, they struggled to get wins on the road. Utah and San Diego State, which shared the MWC regular-season title, finished with 13-3 records; all of the losses came on the road.

San Diego State will most likely be the team to beat once conference play begins, as it is returning top scorers Paris Johnson and Jené Morris. Morris was selected as the MWC Preseason Player of the Year. The Aztecs also have on their team the MWC Preseason Newcomer of the Year, Jessika Bradley, a transfer from Baylor.

Other players to watch in the conference include Utah senior Kalee Whipple and freshman Taryn Wicijowski, New Mexico senior Amy Beggin and Helena Sverrisdottir, a junior at TCU.

The conference has scheduled tough preseason opponents, as San Diego State faced last year’s champion Oklahoma earlier in the season. MWC schools will also be facing Oregon, Louisville, Texas A&M and California in the preseason.

Wyoming and Colorado State will kick off conference play Jan. 5 at 6 p.m.

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