WAC Women’s Basketball Preview

Everyone is chasing New Mexico State as defending champs looks to repeat

Brad Curnow | Sports writer | @JoJoCornrow

Photos courtesy of Mark Nessia/Western Athletic Conference

The New Mexico State Aggies open the 2015-16 women’s WAC basketball season as early favorites to repeat as conference champions. The Aggies won the 2014-15 regular season and conference tournament titles. NMSU returns all five starters from a team that finished 22-8 and the rest of the conference is chasing the Aggies.NMSU-SU-38.Mark Nessia-Western Athletic Conference

CSU Bakersfield will challenge NMSU with an experienced roster. The Roadrunners took a preseason trip to Costa Rica and outscored Team Coranando and the Costa Rican National Team by a total of 241-139 in three games. Freshman guard Addi Walters led the team in scoring during the trip and will be an impact player on the Bakersfield roster to watch this season.

The Seattle U Redhawks fell to NMSU in overtime in the second round of the WAC Tournament last season and are looking to compete with the Aggies for a conference title. The Redhawks were picked by the coaches to finish third in the conference and head coach Joan Bonvicini isn’t happy about the ranking.

“Well I don’t like it,” Bonvicini said. “I mean to be quite honest, I’m not a third or fourth kind of coach. I mean my expectations are always higher and that’s how I coach and that’s what I expect of myself. That confidence and those expectations go onto my team.”

2015 WAC Tournament runner-up University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros, the defensive Grand Canyon Antelopes, the Utah Valley University Wolverines led by Rhaiah Spooner-Knight and Mariah Seals, the University of Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos with guards Aries Washington and Samantha Waldron, and the Chicago State Bears round out the bottom of the conference.

Utah Valley head coach Cathy Nixon hopes that her team can learn some things from their heartbreaking loss to end their 2014-15 season.

“We’re determined to close games,” said Nixon. “I think as our players have gotten better, gotten more experience, I think that was the difference in those games was just experience.”UTPA-UMKC-45.Mark Nessia-Western Athletic Conference

WAC women’s basketball will be similar to the 2014-15 season as it will be tight at the top and taper off through the middle and bottom of the conference.

The WAC Tournament will be held at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas from March 9 to 12.

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