Eagles Selected Eighth in Big Sky Preseason Polls

Considering loss of 2012 Big Sky MVP and a nationally-ranked point guard, Eastern picked to finish just out of tournament contention in 2012-13

Big Sky Release

Heading into the 2012-13 season, both the coaches and media have picked the Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team to finish eighth in the newly expanded Big Sky Conference. In the preseason poll, released Wednesday (Oct. 17) by the league office, EWU garnered 40 points from the league’s head coaches and 65 from media members.

Eastern returns three starters and six other letterwinners from its 2011-12 squad, as well as three redshirts. But for the first time in three years, the Eagles will not welcome back an All-Big Sky player. Following the 2011-12 season, Eastern graduated two-time unanimous first-team selection and 2012 Big Sky MVP Brianne Ryan, as well as second-team honoree Chene Cooper, who ranked in the top six in the nation in assists, and top 25 in steals.

With the conference now expanded to 11 schools, the Big Sky Championship will include seven teams rather than six as it had for the previous 17 years. Along with earning the right to host the tournament, the top seed at the end of the regular season will also have a bye into the semifinal round. The 2013 Big Sky Championship will take place March 14-16.

Although not the most favorable prediction, Eastern is certianly familiar with a preseason ranking that has it out of the tournament field - and familiar with proving it wrong. Prior to the 2009-10 season, the Eagles were selected seventh by both the coaches and media. That year, EWU went on to win the school’s first-ever Big Sky regular-season title with a 12-4 league record. Last season, the Eagles were picked seventh again, and ended up finishing third overall after a 10-6 run in conference play.

Defending Big Sky Champion Idaho State, who coincidentally was tabbed fifth in the 2011-12 preseason poll, is the favorite heading into 2012-13. The Bengals return four of five starters from their championship team, including two All-Big Sky and All-Tournament team honorees. The Bengals received 97 points from the coaches with eight first-place votes, while the media gave ISU 154 points and eight first-place tallies as well.

Northern Colorado was picked second in both polls, followed by Montana in third. The Bears return four starters and seven other letterwinners from its 2011-12 squad that finished second in the league race. The Lady Griz will welcome back all five of its starters from a year ago.

Eastern kicks off its season on Nov. 4 with an exhibition game at home against Carroll College. Eastern’s first official contest of the 2012-13 campaign is slated for Sun, Nov. 11 versus Pacific at 1:05 p.m. at Reese Court in Cheney.

2012-13 Big Sky Women's Basketball Preseason Polls

 

COACHES POLL

Team Points (First-Place Votes)
1. Idaho State 97 (8)
2. Northern Colorado 88 (1)
3. Montana 77 (2)
4. Montana State 72
5. Portland State 63
6. North Dakota 53
7. Sacramento State 50
8. Eastern Washington       40
9. Northern Arizona 28
10. Weber State 17
11. Southern Utah 13

 

MEDIA POLL

Team Points (First-Place Votes)
1. Idaho State 154 (8)
2. Northern Colorado 146 (4)
3. Montana 135 (3)
4. Montana State 127
5. North Dakota
95
6. Sacramento State
83
7. Portland State
78
8. Eastern Washington       65
9. Northern Arizona 53
10. Southern Utah
26
11. Weber State
25
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