With the Mountain West women’s basketball season in progress, The Collegian’s Christopher Livingston has ranked the women’s basketball teams after six games:
1. Fresno State Bulldogs (11-6, 5-1 MW)
Last year’s conference champions are off to a quick start. They went 4-0 in the conference before losing their first game by only one point. That didn’t throw the Bulldogs off stride, as they then won a nail-biter in New Mexico. Coach Raegan Pebley is in her third season, and with a strong senior crew led by Taylor Thompson and Bree Farley, Fresno State is looking to repeat as champions.
2. Colorado State Rams (13-4, 5-1 MW)
The Rams, who suffered their first loss at Fresno State, are already showing improvement after finishing last season in sixth place (11-9, 7-9 MW). Ryun Williams is in his second season as Rams coach, with senior forward Sam Martin leading the squad in points per game (ppg) with 12.1 and blocks (23).
3. Wyoming Cowgirls (11-4, 2-2 MW)
Coach Joe Legerski’s Cowgirls, who finished in third place last season, are currently in fifth place in the conference, but their 11-4 overall record does give them something to boast about. Both interconference losses were by 10 or fewer points, and they have only one loss at home this season (to Colorado).
4. UNLV Rebels (7-10, 4-1 MW)
The Rebels are seeking to live up to more than what their overall record says and establish themselves as a viable opponent in the conference. With their only loss coming to Fresno State, the Rebels are riding a four-game winning streak and are seeking to extend it at Utah State tonight. Afterward, they will look for retribution against Fresno State this weekend.
5. Boise State Broncos (8-8, 3-2 MW)
With three returning starters from last year’s squad, the Broncos have the capability to improve from the previous season’s 4-12 conference finish. The season is off to a similar start as before. The Broncos are 3-2 after five games. However, in order to be in the top of the league, Boise State has to avoid a seven-game losing skid, which dashed its hopes in 2012-13.
6. New Mexico Lobos (7-9, 2-3 MW)
Their record does them no justice: the Lobos are a team to look out for. The most-watched basketball team in the conference (average home attendance is 6,127), New Mexico is making its run as the “spoiler” of the conference. After handing Wyoming its first loss, the Lobos gave Fresno State a tough game.
7. Utah State Aggies (8-8, 2-3 MW)
The Aggies are averaging a conference-high 76.8 ppg, but are allowing only one fewer point (75.6), putting them third to last in that category. Once their defense tightens, they can be in the upper echelons of the conference. Until then, they face an uphill battle.
8. San Diego State Aztecs (5-10, 2-3 MW)
The Aztecs had a tough non conference schedule and went into the interconference matchups with a 3-7 record. Since then, they have tried to break even and even snatched a 1-point victory from the Bulldogs. With opponents such as San Jose State and Utah State on the docket, the Aztecs will only need one thing: consistency.
9. Nevada Wolf Pack (7-9, 2-3 MW)
The Wolf Pack were picked to finish 10th in the Mountain West Preseason Media Poll, but are looking to silence critics. Currently seventh in the conference, the team will have to keep its scoring margin high (currently at 2.4) in order to remain above what’s expected.
10. San Jose State Spartans (8-9, 2-4 MW)
The Spartans are off to a tough start. With five games with 100 or more points allowed, they are currently dead last in scoring defense, averaging 83 points in a game (four more than the next-to-last Air Force). But San Jose State has been known to have winning streaks, and it will need a few to stay away from irrelevancy.
11. Air Force Falcons (1-15, 0-6 MW)
On the positive side, Air Force actually has two wins this season, but one was an exhibition match to start the season against Western State Colorado University. The Falcons have yet to win a game on the road this season (their last victory on an opponent’s court was at Texas State on Nov. 21, 2011, and last conference road victory was on Jan. 23, 2008 at Colorado State). That’s not a good omen with a trip to Wyoming tonight, but predictions can be broken.