Mustangs Selected to Defend BWC Title by Media in Preseason Poll
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Cal Poly women's basketball team has been selected by the media to take home the 2013-14 Big West women's basketball title, earning 17 first place votes and 177 points.
Hawai'i was selected to finish second with three first place votes and 159 points. Third and fourth place were separated by just one point as Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State collected 121 and 120 points, respectively.
Head coach Faith Mimnaugh, entering her 17th season, returns 12 letterwinners including 2012-13 Big West Conference Player of the Year, Molly Schlemer, and welcomes four newcomers.
Schlemer returns for her senior season after averaging 13.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. She was one of the nation's leaders in field goal percentage when she converted 54.2 percent of her shots. Schlemer was also selected preseason all-conference by the media.
Also returning is junior Ariana Elegado who averaged 12.0 points (second on the team) and dished out 102 assists. Fellow guard, senior Jonae Ervin averaged 8.1 points while she was among the leaders of the NCAA in assist/turnover ratio when she dished out 120 assists while committing only 46 turnovers. Both earned conference honors last season when they were named honorable mention.
Also returning is sophomore Beth Balbierz who saw action in 27 games last season. She scored a season-high eight points, three times, and averaged 2.6 points.
Senior Amaka Ofodu played in 28 games and started in two while scoring 1.7 points per game. She made 23 of 39 shots from the floor (.590) while junior Taryn Garza saw action in 27 games and averaged 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds.
The four newcomers include two local products, Hannah Gilbert (Morro Bay High School) and Mary Kate Evans (Atascadero High School).
Gilbert, a former San Luis Obispo County Player of the Year and Los Padres League MVP, averaged 17.5 points and 8.8 rebounds as a senior. The 6-3 forward added 14.4 points and 10.6 rebounds as a junior.
Evans averaged 19.3 points, 13 rebounds, 4.4 blocks and 2.9 steals per game as a junior when she All-CIF honors. The 6-2 guard, as a sophomore, averaged 11.2 points and 7.3 rebounds in earning second-team All CIF.
Guard Sarah Lipton comes from Woodbridge High School where she led the team to a 96-25 record in her four years. As a senior she averaged 19.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and dished out 3.7 assists per game.
The last of the four freshmen is Rachel Koehler from Billings Montana. As a senior she averaged 17.0 points in earning all-state honors as the team placed fourth in the state championships. The all-around athlete also earned state honors in soccer and was named 2023-13 Gatorade Soccer Player of the Year.
Joining Schlemer on the preseason all-conference team; Brittany Crain (UC Riverside), Sydnee Fipps (UC Davis), Ashlee Guay (CS Northridge), Kamilah Jackson (Hawai'i), and Alex Sanchez (Long Beach State).
1. Cal Poly (17) 177
2. Hawai'i (3) 159
3. Cal State Northridge 121
4. Long Beach State 120
5. UC Santa Barbara 100
6. UC Davis 72
7. Cal State Fullerton 59
8. UC Irvine 54
9. UC Riverside 38