The Western Athletic Conference (WAC) coaches and media picked the New Mexico State women's basketball team to finish sixth in their respective preseason polls and both honored senior forward Tabytha Wampler with All-WAC preseason honors in a release by the conference Oct. 18.
The Aggies were also picked sixth in last season's preseason polls. NM State finished 14-18 overall and 7-9 in the conference to place in a tie for fifth last season and entered the WAC Tournament as the sixth seed.
Wampler enters her senior season after starting all 32 games last year. She returns as the Aggies' leading scorer at 12.7 points per game and leading rebounder at 7.6 boards per game. Wampler posted seven double-doubles last season and ranked No. 31 nationally with an 85.1 free throw percentage.
The senior co-captain scored in double figures 25 times last season. Wampler led the team in rebounding 15 times and in scoring nine times in 2010-11 as a junior.
Last season departed seniors Madison Spence and Jasmine Lowe earned preseason second team honors from the media and coaches. Spence ended the season with All-WAC Second Team honors while Jasmine Rutledge claimed All-WAC Freshman team honors.
Louisiana Tech, the defending WAC regular season champion, was picked to win the WAC title in both rankings while Utah State's Ashlee Brown was tabbed the conference Preseason Player of the Year in both polls.
In the media poll, Louisiana Tech received 13 first-place votes, earning 144 points. Fresno State was picked to finish second with 129 points and three first-place votes, just ahead of Utah State with 126 points and the other three first-place votes. Nevada was picked to finish fourth with 80 points, followed by Hawai'i with 72 points. New Mexico State was picked to finish in sixth place with 59 points, followed by Idaho in seventh with 52 points and San Jose State in eighth with 22 points.
Reigning WAC Newcomer of the Year Brown was voted Preseason Player of the Year and is the on the preseason all-WAC first team. Joining her on the Preseason all-WAC first team Louisiana Tech's Jasmine Bendolph, Kamilah Jackson of Hawai'i, Fresno State's Rosie Moult and Tabytha Wampler of New Mexico State.
The Preseason all-WAC second team is comprised of LA Tech's Shantale Bramble-Donaldson and Whitney Jones, Amanda Johnson and Kayla Williams of Nevada, and Fresno State's Taylor Thompson.
In the coaches' poll, the Lady Techsters received 47 points and five first-place votes to beat out Utah State for the top spot. The Aggies captured second place with 40 points and two first-place votes. Fresno State came in third place with 36 points and one first-place vote. Nevada finished fourth with 33 points, followed by Hawai'i in fifth place with 22 points. New Mexico State came in sixth with 18 points, just ahead of Idaho in seventh with 17 points. San Jose State rounded out the poll in eighth place with 11 points.
Brown, the reigning WAC Newcomer of the Year, leads the list of Preseason all-WAC honorees. Joining her on the first team are Jasmine Bendolph and Whitney Jones of Louisiana Tech, Fresno State's Rosie Moult and Kayla Williams of Nevada.
Second team selections include Devyn Christensen (Utah State), Kamilah Jackson and Shawna-Lei Kuehu (Hawai'i), Taylor Thompson (Fresno State) and Tabytha Wampler (New Mexico State).
The Aggies open the season on Friday, Nov. 11 on the road at Houston.
2011-12 Preseason Women's Basketball Media Poll
Rank Teams (1st-Place Votes) Points
1. Louisiana Tech (13) 144
2. Fresno State (3) 129
3. Utah State (3) 126
4. Nevada 80
5. Hawai'i 72
6. New Mexico State 59
7. Idaho 52
8. San Jose State 22
Preseason Women's Basketball Media All-WAC Teams
Jasmine Bendolph, Louisiana Tech
Ashlee Brown, Utah State
Kamilah Jackson, Hawai'i
Rosie Moult, Fresno State
Tabytha Wampler, New Mexico State
Shantale Bramble-Donaldson, Louisiana Tech
Amanda Johnson, Nevada
Whitney Jones, Louisiana Tech
Taylor Thompson, Fresno State
Kayla Williams, Nevada
Preseason Player of the Year: Ashlee Brown, Fresno State