|Idaho pair earn preseason honors|
DENVER - The Western Athletic Conference released its women's basketball preseason coaches and media polls Tuesday, and the Idaho Vandals were picked to finish fourth by the league's head coaches, and fifth by the media.
The media put Idaho senior Rachele Kloke on the preseason all-WAC first-team, and senior Yinka Olorunnife on the second-team. Both players earned preseason second-team all-WAC honors from the coaches.
The Vandals are coming off an 8-8, fourth place WAC finish in 2009-10. Idaho earned the No. 4 seed in the WAC tournament after owning a tiebreaker over Boise State and New Mexico State to break a three-way fourth-place tie. The Vandals won their first WAC tournament game in program history over New Mexico State to advance to the WAC semi-finals.
Kloke led the Vandals in scoring last season, averaging 14.5 points per game to go along with 5.2 rebounds, as she was named second-team all-WAC at the end of the 2009-10 season. Olorunnife averaged 11.3 points and a team-high 7.9 rebounds in 2009-10, and was named to the WAC all-tournament team after averaging 23 points and 8.5 rebounds in Idaho's two tournament games.
"We return a lot of our scoring from last year with Yinka Olorunnife and Rachele Kloke both in my four and five spot," Idaho head coach Jon Newlee said. "We're looking forward to this year with five returnees who have been with me the two years that I've been here. To have some depth will be nice for us, we can do a few different things from a defensive standpoint, and an offensive standpoint as well."
Fresno State, Louisiana Tech and Nevada were picked to finish first, second and third in both polls, followed by Idaho, Boise State, New Mexico State, Hawai'i, Utah State and San Jose State in the coaches poll. The media picked Boise State fourth, followed by Idaho, New Mexico State, Utah State, Hawai'i and San Jose State.
Fresno State's Jaleesa Ross, the reigning WAC Defensive Player of the Year, was picked as the preseason Player of the Year in both polls, and Louisiana Tech's Adrienne Johnson, Fresno State's Hayley Munro and Nevada's Tahnee Robinson were preseason first-team picks in both polls as well. Nevada's Shavon Moore took Kloke's place on the first-team in the coaches poll.
In addition to Kloke and Olorunnife, the coaches picked Louisiana Tech's Whitney Jones, and New Mexico State's Jasmine Lowe and Madison Spence on the second-team. Janie Bos of Boise State and Amber White of Utah State joined Olorunnife, Spence and Moore on the second-team in the media poll.
The Vandals open up the regular season in Memorial Gym on Nov. 13 against Eastern Oregon with a 5:30 p.m. tip-off.