DENVER, Colo. - The Mountain West Conference announced its 2003-04 preseason poll and all-conference team at its Basketball Media Day held at the Denver Marriott Tech Center Tuesday. The voting panel consisted of the league's eight head coaches and select media.
Utah returned to the top of the MWC preseason poll for the first time since 2000-01, collecting all possible first-place votes to repeat as MWC regular season champions (coaches did not vote for their own team). BYU picked up the other first-place vote and edged New Mexico by one point to place second. Colorado State followed the Lobos at fourth place, with UNLV, San Diego State, Wyoming and Air Force rounding out the poll.
Utah sophomore forward Kim Smith earned Top Returning Player honors, while New Mexico junior transfer Jenny Shetters was named Top Newcomer. Four of the eight MWC teams were represented on the all-conference team, including four juniors and two sophomores. Defending regular season champion Utah had two members on the preseason squad, Smith and Shona Thorburn, a duo that ranked third and sixth, respectively, in MWC scoring last season. Smith, currently on the Wade Trophy preseason watch list, earned Freshman All-America honors last year, while Thorburn was second-team All-MWC. BYU's Danielle Cheesman was also a second-team All-MWC selection last year, while New Mexico's Mandi Moore and UNLV's Sherry McCracklin were third-team honorees.
2003-04 MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE PRESEASON POLL
|Rk.||Team (1st-place votes)||Points|
|6.||San Diego State||57|
2003-04 MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
|Name, Class, Position||Institution|
|Kim Smith, So., F||Utah|
|Shona Thorburn, So., G||Utah|
|Danielle Cheesman, Jr., F||BYU|
|Mandi Moore, Jr., G||New Mexico|
|Sherry McCracklin, Jr., F/C||UNLV|
Top Returning Player
Kim Smith, So., F, Utah
Jenny Shetters, Jr., C, New Mexico
PRESEASON ALL-MWC TEAM PLAYER PROFILES
Kim Smith, So., F, Utah
Only player in MWC history to earn conference Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year in the same season. Averaged 17.4 points per game as a freshman and scored a season-high 35 points in a first round NCAA Tournament win over DePaul.
Shona Thorburn, So., G, Utah
Second-team All-MWC selection in her first year in the conference. Averaged 14.7 points per game. Scored a season-high 29 points vs. Colorado State (Jan. 18). Led the Utes in assists (3.3 per game) and minutes played (36.5 per game) last season.
Danielle Cheesman, 6-2, Jr., F, BYU
BYU's top returning scorer and rebounder from a year ago after averaging 11.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. One of only two players (Erin Thorn) to start every game for the Cougars last year and has 48 straight starts for BYU entering this season.
Mandi Moore, 5-7, Jr., G, New Mexico
Two-time All-MWC performer. Led MWC in assists for the second straight year, averaging 6.42 per game last season. Also led the MWC in three-point field goal percentage (all games) with 45.7 percent. Connected on a season-high 5-of-8 treys in a win vs. Mississippi State in the second round of last year's NCAA Tournament.
Sherry McCracklin, Jr., F/C, UNLV
Third-team All-MWC and all-tournament selection last season. Ranked second in MWC rebounding with 8.6 boards per contest. Top returning scorer for UNLV after averaging 11.2 points per game. Totaled a career-high 24 points and 12 rebounds vs. BYU in MWC Tournament.
Jenny Shetters, 6-3, Jr., C, New Mexico (transfer from Cal State Northridge)
Led the Matadors in scoring and rebounding (2001-02 season) with 14.2 points and 5.5 boards per game. Second-team all-conference as a sophomore with CSN in 2001-02.