Oct. 11, 2011
DENVER, Colo. --- The Mountain West announced its 2011-12 preseason women's basketball poll and all-conference team today at its Basketball Media Day held at The Mtn. Studios in Denver, Colo. The voting panel consisted of the league's eight head coaches and select women's basketball media.
New Mexico garnered 74 points in voting to nab the No. 4 spot, and junior Sara Halasz earned a spot on the 2011 Preseason All-Conference team. The Lobos are sitting behind third-place Colorado State (106 points/one first-place vote), second place San Diego State (127 point/seven first-place votes) and the preseason favorite Horned Frogs of TCU. Earning 12 first-place votes (136 total points), the Horned Frogs finished second in the conference last season and made a postseason appearance in the WNIT.
This is the fourth time in the past five seasons that the Lobos have been pegged as the preseason No. 4 team.
"We're very honored, this shows tremendous respect for our program and what Coach Flanagan built," first-year head coach Yvonne Sanchez said. "We're excited, because we want to be in the mix with everyone else, and now it's just time to get to work."
UNLV and Wyoming collected 65 points apiece to tie for fifth, while Air Force came in seventh (42 points) and newcomer Boise State in eighth (39 points).
Junior Sara Halasz, coming off of a medical redshirt in 2010-11, earned one of five spots on the preseason all-conference team. In 2009-10, Halasz finished second on the team in scoring and rebounding with 10.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. She started 30 of 32 games that year and reached double-figure scoring 16 times that season.
"Again, this shows a huge amount of respect for Sara, coming off of an injury last season and still being named preseason all-conference," Sanchez continued. "I know that she is very appreciative of the recognition that she has great potential to be a contributer to this team."
Colorado State senior Kim Mestdagh has been named 2011-12 MW Preseason Player of the Year. Mestdagh, a 5-10 guard/forward, is the only senior in the league returning from the all-Mountain West team. Mestdagh averaged 17.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game and hit her 1,000th career point last season as a junior. She and Halasz are joined on the preseason all-MW team by Air Force junior Dymond James, TCU junior Starr Crawford and UNLV senior Jamie Smith.
The Lobos will kick off practice on Friday, Oct. 14 at the Lobo Howl, which will be held in The Pit from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The women's squad will practice from 7 - 8 p.m., and live broadcasts will be hosted from The Pit floor throughout the day.