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Aztec Basketball Picked To Win The 2010 Mountain West Conference Title

Jené Morris is the first Aztec to be named MWC preseason player of the year.
Jené Morris is the first Aztec to be named MWC preseason player of the year.

Oct. 7, 2009

DENVER - The San Diego State women's basketball team, which earned a share of last year's regular season title, has been picked to win the Mountain West Conference in 2010 in a vote by the MWC's nine head coaches and select media members released Wednesday at the league's annual media day in Denver, Colo. The Aztecs, who have been ranked 22nd-nationally by two preseason publications, received 25 of the 28 first-place votes and 240 points overall for their first-ever MWC preseason No. 1 selection.

"It's exciting, rewarding and (being picked No.1) is something that will help us grow our confidence," SDSU head coach Beth Burns said. "But at the end of the day, it's still October and preseason polls are based a lot on who you return and where you finished last year. We play in a very talented league that I feel has the ability to go five deep [in earning NCAA berths]."

SDSU had nearly 25 more points than second place TCU, which received the three other first-place votes. Utah was picked third, followed by New Mexico, Wyoming, BYU, UNLV, Colorado State and Air Force.

In addition to the top team honors, SDSU senior guard Jené Morris (San Francisco, Calif.) was tabbed the league's preseason player of the year and junior forward Jessika Bradley (Sacramento, Calif.) was chosen as the preseason newcomer of the year.

Morris earned honorable mention All-America honors a year ago, after leading the Aztecs in scoring with 16.1 points per game and in steals with 3.3 a contest, a figure that ranked seventh nationally. Morris was also the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, first-team all-conference and one of five players tabbed for the first-ever MWC all-defensive squad. Thus far in 2009-10, she had been named to the preseason watch lists for both the Wade Trophy and John R. Wooden Award and last week, was picked as a third-team All-American by the Sporting News.

"I'm thrilled for Jené," Burns said. "She's earned every honor that she has received, because she plays with such passion, has an inquisitive nature to want to get better every day and has evolved into a tremendous leader."

Bradley redshirted a year ago, after spending two seasons at nationally-ranked Baylor. She played in 65 contests for the Bears and averaged 4.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game as a sophomore, posting a pair of double-doubles, including a 10-point, 10-rebound performance against then No. 10 Oklahoma.

For the second consecutive year, Morris and teammate junior center Paris Johnson (San Diego, Calif.) were both on the five-player Mountain West preseason all-conference team. Johnson is a two-year returning starter, playing in all 63 of the team's games since coming to The Mesa in 2007. A first-team all-league and all-defensive pick as a sophomore, she led the Aztecs in rebounding (8.3/g), blocked shots (94) and field-goal percentage (53.1) in 2008-09.

San Diego State's two selections on the all-conference team were the most by any school, as Morris and Johnson were joined be New Mexico's Amy Beggin, TCU's Helena Sverrisdottir and Utah's Kalee Whipple. In addition, the Utes' Taryn Wicijowski was selected as the MWC preseason freshman of the year.

The Aztecs, who return four of five starters from last season's NCAA tournament run, opens practice for the 2009-10 campaign next Friday, Oct. 16. The Aztecs lone exhibition game is Nov. 6, against Pt. Loma Nazarene at 7 p.m. at Viejas Arena. The season opener is in Irvine, Calif., when SDSU takes on UC Irvine on Nov. 13 at 5 p.m.

2009-10 MWC Preseason Poll

Rk.     Team (1st-place votes)	Points
1.      San Diego State (25)	240
2.	TCU (3)			216
3.	Utah			185
4.	New Mexico		168
5.	Wyoming			121
6.	BYU			109
7.	UNLV			97
8.	Colorado State		57
9.	Air Force			31
Note:  Coaches do not vote for their own teams.

2009-10 MWC Preseason All-Conference Team Name, Class, Position, Institution Jené Morris, Sr., G, SDSU Paris Johnson, Jr., C, SDSU Helena Sverrisdottir, Jr., G/F, TCU Amy Beggin, Sr., G, New Mexico Kalee Whipple, Sr., F, Utah

Top Returning Player: Jené Morris, G, SDSU Top Newcomer: Jessika Bradley, F, SDSU Top Freshman: Taryn Wicijowski, F, Utah

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