LARAMIE -- In the annual preseason poll released by the Mountain West on Thursday, the Wyoming Cowgirls are picked to finish fourth in the conference. The voting panel consists of the league's 11 head coaches and a select group of media covering the Mountain West's women's basketball teams.

Last season, the Cowgirls were picked fourth in the preseason poll and finished third in the standings at the end of the year.

Defending regular season and tournament champions Boise State was picked to win the league after garnering 25 first-place votes and 305 points. New Mexico picked up three first-place votes and 280 points to be picked second, while Fresno State earned 228 points in the poll to be selected third. Wyoming's 201 points was good for a fourth-place pick, while San Diego State (192 points) and Colorado State (185 points) were picked fifth and sixth, respectively. UNLV and Utah State earned 130 and 116 points to be picked seventh and eighth, respectively. Nevada (115 points) points was picked ninth, while Air Force (85 points) and San José State (77 points) were picked 10th and 11th, respectively. The Spartans picked up the final first-place vote, as well.

The preseason all-Mountain West team is comprised of Boise State seniors Braydey Hodgins and Riley Lupfer, New Mexico senior Aisia Robertson and sophomore Jayla Everett, and Fresno State junior Maddi Utti

Hodgins was also named the preseason Player of the Year. The conference has preseason Co-Freshmen of the Year in New Mexico's Corina Carter and Fresno State's Haley Cavinder. Boise State's Mallory McGwire was chosen as the league's preseason Newcomer of the Year.

The Cowgirls return two starters and seven letterwinners from last year's team that went 25-9 overall with a 13-3 mark in Mountain West play. The 2018-19 Cowgirl team advanced to the quarterfinals of the Women's National Invitation Tournament for just the second time in school history.

The two starters returning are senior Taylor Rusk and sophomore Karla Erjavec. Rusk is primed to be Wyoming's next 1,000 point scorer, as she is just 155 points shy of the milestone. Erjavec set the program's freshman assist record with 124 helpers last season to lead the team.

Other returning Cowgirls that saw action last season include sophomore Quinn Weidemann, sophomore Tereza Vitulova, sophomore Alba Sanchez Ramos, senior Elisa Pilli and sophomore Tommi Olson.

Weidemann and Vitulova are the most experienced of that group, as they played in 34 and 27 games last season, respectively. Sanchez Ramos proved to be a capable scorer in her minutes, while Pilli had a good touch from long range, and Olson averaged over a steal per game, defensively.

Wyoming also welcomes back Selale Kepenc, a redshirt junior who didn't play last season while recovering from an injury.

The Cowgirls will have five newcomers on the roster in junior college transfers and Wyoming natives Jaye Johnson and Emily Buchanan. Additionally, a trio of freshman join the 2019-20 squad. McKinley Bradshaw and Paige Powell are both from Wyoming, while Jaeden Vaifanua is from Draper, Utah.

Head coach Gerald Mattinson is in his first year at the helm of the Cowgirls after spending the last 16 seasons as an assistant and associate head coach of Wyoming.

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH (first place votes):
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

Braydey Hodgins, 5-8, Sr., G, Boise State
Aisia Robertson, 5-8, Sr., G, New Mexico
Riley Lupfer, 5-9, Sr., G, Boise State
Maddi Utti, 5-11, Jr., F, Fresno State
Jayla Everett, 5-11, So., G, New Mexico

Braydey Hodgins, 5-8, Sr., G, Boise State

Corina Carter, 5-6, G, New Mexico
Haley Cavinder, 5-6, G, New Mexico

Mallory McGwire, 6-5, Jr., C, Boise State

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