Ryan Chartrand

The women’s basketball team was selected to finish third by the media and fourth by the coaches this season at the Big West Conference’s annual Basketball Media Day in Irvine, Calif.

“Our ranking is fair but we wanna be number one. I don’t think it will be that bad to be the underdogs-it’s not going to hold us down,” said senior guard Toni Newman in response to the rankings.

It will be Faith Mimnaugh’s eleventh season coaching at Cal Poly. She has not only big hopes for the season but also for the players.

“I’m excited about this season-we will contend for the championship. I know all the talent we possess,” said head coach Faith Mimnaugh.

“We have so many good returning players that everyone has a mark on their back,” she added.

One of the team’s returning starters is forward Megan Harrison. She is an All-Big West Second Team member with an average of 12.1 points per game and 5.1 rebounds per game last year.

“I feel like we can compete with the other teams if we stay healthy all across the board,” said Mimnaugh.

Senior guard Sparkle Anderson will play this season after having torn her ACL, while Newman is in full recovery for the start of the season after tearing her labrum in her hip.

Newman received an All-Big West Honorable Mention honor and scored an average of nine points per game last year. Newman also holds the ninth place NCAA average of 3.2 steals per game.

“I’m excited about this upcoming season,” Harrison said. “We have been working hard. We were not ready for last season to end.”

The team is excited to play for the home audiences and have been working hard to promote their games.

“We love the band during our games. They really get the crowd involved,” Harrision added.

Cal Poly has a conference and non-conference schedule made of teams such as Oregon, UCLA and Pitt – a top 16 team.

“It (the schedule) will make us better and stronger, it will just be a good experience,” said Newman. “The whole team is working hard, putting in extra shots and running.”

Cal Poly will also contend against rivals Santa Barbara and UC Davis after losing against UC Davis last year 78-68 and Santa Barbara 68-62.

“Those games should be dog fights,” Mimnaugh anticipates.

The Cal Poly women’s basketball team will play an exhibition game tonight against Melbourne Roos.

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