NAU women picked 8th, 9th in preseason hoops poll

OGDEN, Utah — The Northern Arizona women’s basketball team has been picked eighth and ninth in the Big Sky preseason coaches and media polls released by the conference office this week. The Lumberjacks received 55 points in the coaches poll voted on by the league head coaches and 64 points in the media poll voted on by the league media and sports information directors.

Montana was picked as the preseason favorites to defend its Big Sky crown in both polls, receiving 10 of 12 first-place votes from the coaches for 120 points and 6 of 13 first-place votes in the media poll for 148 points. North Dakota and Sacramento State were the consensus second and third-place teams in both polls.

The Lumberjacks are coming off their best season under head coach Sue Darling, who is entering her fourth year at the helm of the program. NAU finished last season in a tie for fifth with a 9-9 record in conference while posting an overall record of 13-17. Their overall and conference win totals were the most NAU has recorded since 2007, and the team qualified for the Big Sky Championships for the first time since 2009.

Senior Mariah Willadsen and juniors Brittani Lusain and Rene Coggins return as starters in the backcourt for the Lumberjacks. In all, NAU returns eight letterwinners, including key reserves in senior Monique Mulder and junior Bradlee Cotton. The Lumberjacks also welcome five newcomers — three true freshmen and two Division I transfers.

The 2015-16 NAU women’s basketball season gets underway on Sunday, Nov. 15, when Hawaii pays a visit to the Rolle Activity Center.

Big Sky women’s basketball preseason poll

Coaches Media
1. Montana (10) — 120 1. Montana (6) — 148
2. North Dakota (1) — 97 2. North Dakota (3) — 128
3. Sacramento State — 97 3. Sacramento State (2) — 121
4. Northern Colorado — 84 4. Montana State — 107
5. Montana State (1) — 81 5. Idaho State — 98
6. Idaho — 67 6. Eastern Washington (2) — 95
7. Idaho State — 66 7. Northern Colorado — 86
8. Northern Arizona — 55 8. Idaho — 69
9. Eastern Washington — 54 9. Northern Arizona –64
10. Weber State — 31 10. Weber State — 50
11. Southern Utah — 21 11. Southern Utah — 29
12. Portland State — 19 12. Portland State — 19