Kenzie De Boer being guarded by Sac State's Alle Moreno
Oct. 16, 2012
With regular-season games still over three weeks away and with Big Sky Conference women's basketball water-cooler topics at a standstill, College Sports Madness has once again stepped up and filled the void and sparked debates anew with its annual preseason All-Big Sky Conference teams and individual awards.
Montana senior forward Katie Baker, a unanimous first-team All-Big Sky selection as a junior, and senior guard Kenzie De Boer, honorable mention All-Big Sky last winter, were among the 10 players to make up the first and second teams.
Northern Colorado, which finished second in the Big Sky last winter to regular-season champion Idaho State, swept the three individual preseason awards.
Junior guard D'shara Strange, like Baker a unanimous first-team all-league selection last season, was named the preseason Player of the Year. Jaime White was named Coach of the Year, and Bay'lee Purdy, the Colorado Class 1A Ms. Basketball last winter after averaging 33 points per game at Deer Trail High, was named Freshman of the Year.
Baker and Strange were joined on College Sports Madness's preseason first team by Montana State senior forward Rachel Semansky, Northern Arizona senior guard Amy Patton and Portland State junior guard Kate Lanz.
Semansky and Patton were both second-team All-Big Sky selections last winter, and Lanz, a transfer from Oregon State, was named both honorable mention and the league's Top Newcomer.
Baker, who averaged a team-high 15.0 points and 7.2 rebounds last year, enters her final season with the momentum of a strong close to 2011-12, a year that ended with a quarterfinal loss to Montana State at the Big Sky tournament at Pocatello, Idaho.
Baker averaged 22.2 points and 8.8 rebounds per game over Montana's final five games and reached 1,000 points for her career late in the season-ending loss to the Bobcats.
De Boer was named to the five-player second team. She averaged 10.8 points and 3.5 rebounds last season and led the Lady Griz in steals (72) and finished second in assists (59) to Torry Hill.
De Boer was voted the team's Outstanding Defensive Player for the second straight season last winter after spearheading a defense that allowed 58.5 points per game on 36.3 percent shooting.
Montana, Northern Colorado and Portland State all had one player on the preseason first team and one on the second.
PSU senior guard Courtney VanBrocklin, a second-team All-Big Sky selection and the Big Sky's Top Newcomer in 2010-11 after transferring from Boise State, was named to the preseason second team despite not earning any postseason accolades as a junior, a season that saw the Vikings sputter late and miss the six-team postseason tournament after being picked first in the preseason coaches' poll.
Northern Colorado senior forward Lauren Oosdyke also made the preseason second team. She was an honorable-mention All-Big Sky selection last year after earning first-team accolades as a sophomore.
Two players from Sacramento State, senior forward Kylie Kuhns and junior guard Alle Moreno, rounded out the second team.
Surprisingly absent from the first and second teams were any players from Idaho State. The Bengals went 14-2 in league last season and won the regular-season title by three games over Northern Colorado, and ISU returns four starters, including senior guard Kaela Oakes, a first-team All-Big Sky pick last season.
The preseason fun will continue Wednesday when the Big Sky Conference releases the 2012-13 preseason coaches' poll.
College Sports Madness Preseason All-Big Sky Conference Teams
Katie Baker, Montana (senior, forward)
Kate Lanz, Portland State (junior, guard)
Amy Patton, Northern Arizona (senior guard)
Rachel Semansky, Montana State (senior, forward)
D'shara Strange, Northern Colorado (junior, guard)
Kenzie De Boer, Montana (senior, guard)
Kylie Kuhns, Sacramento State (senior, forward)
Alle Moreno, Sacramento State (junior, guard)
Lauren Oosdyke, Northern Colorado (senior, forward)
Courtney VanBrocklin, Portland State (senior, guard)
Preseason Player of the Year: D'shara Strange, Northern Colorado
Preseason Coach of the Year: Jaime White, Northern Colorado
Preseason Freshman of the Year: Bay'lee Purdy, Northern Colorado
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