WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - For the first time since the Lone Star Conference departed from the divisional format six seasons ago, Midwestern State has been voted as the favorite to claim a league title by a panel including conference head coaches, sports information directors and selected media.
The Mustangs have claimed at least a share of four of the five LSC championships since the start of non-divisional play heading into the 2011-12 season posting a combined record of 121-36 (.770) including a 61-17 run (.782) in conference play.
MSU received 12-first-place votes for a total of 253 points to edge Tarleton State which picked up seven first-place nods for 240 points.
Angelo State (8 first-place votes, 239 points) and West Texas A&M (1 first-place vote, 211) also received top votes followed by Texas A&M-Commerce (152), Texas A&M-Kingsville (120), Cameron (108), Eastern New Mexico (93), UT-Permian Basin (88) and Western New Mexico (36).
West Texas A&M's David Chavlovich is the league preseason player of the year leading the Buffs with 20.5 points per game last season.
Nelson Haggerty enters his sixth season as head coach of the Mustangs, with a record of 121-36 (.770), leading MSU to the NCAA postseason in all five of his previous seasons. Top assistant coach Dylan Dudley takes over for departed and current Eastern New Mexico head coach Tres Segler. Dudley spent the last two seasons at Henderson State (Ark.). Andre Shaw steps into a full-time role after serving the last three seasons as a graduate assistant.
Sheldon Hagigal leads a trio of seniors scoring 9.2 points per game in a reserve role last season for the Mustangs. Fifth-year man Pat Smith has seen marked improvement each year upping his averages to 5.0 points and 2.6 assists per game last season. The Mustangs look for big things from 6-7, 215-pound forward Magnus Richards who averaged 3.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 9.8 minutes per game last season.
Junior guard Devante Pullum steps on the floor for the first time since scoring 10 points and dishing out 3.6 assists in nine games as a redshirt-freshman in 2014-15. Junior forward Nick Powell averaged 2.1 points and 2.1 rebounds in 7.8 minutes per game in 16 appearances a season ago. The Mustangs also added a deep crop of new faces for this season, with 8 transfers and 2 high school signees.
Midwestern State opens exhibition play Monday, Oct. 31 against Science & Arts (Okla.) then battle Oklahoma City on Monday, Nov. 7. Both games will be played at D.L. Ligon Coliseum and tip off at 7:30 p.m.
Midwestern State was tabbed seventh in the Lone Star Conference Preseason Poll Wednesday afternoon, voted on by head coaches, sports information directors and media representatives from the 11-member conference.
Midwestern State was picked seventh alongside Eastern New Mexico, receiving 145 votes from the 30 ballots cast in the preseason poll. The Mustangs are coming off a season that included their fifth-straight trip to the Lone Star Conference Postseason Tournament after finishing eighth in the league standings.
West Texas A&M was narrowly picked to win the LSC with 312 points and 16 first-place votes while Angelo State totaled 311 points and 13 first-place nods. Texas Woman's was picked third with 257 points, ahead of Tarleton State in fourth with 238. Texas A&M-Commerce rounded out the top five in the poll with 207 points.
Cameron recorded the remaining first-place vote and collected 156 points for sixth in the preseason poll. UT Permian Basin came in behind MSU and ENMU in ninth with 77 points while Western New Mexico took 10th with 71 and Texas A&M-Kingsville was picked 11th with 61 points.
Angelo State senior Jasmine Prophet was named the LSC Preseason Player of the Year after earning the nod on 16 ballots. Prophet averaged 14.2 points per game and 6.4 rebounds per game last season to earn LSC Player of the Year honors.
Head coach Noel Johnson begins her ninth season at the helm of the MSU women's basketball program with a career record of 118-106 (.527) and three NCAA Tournament appearances.
The Mustangs return one all-LSC selection in junior forward Whitney Taylor, who led MSU with 12.5 points per game while shooting 41.3 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from behind the arc with a team-high 38 triples in 2015-16. Midwestern State also returns its second- and third-leading scorers from a season ago in junior Krishawn Crockett (8.4 ppg) and senior Jennifer Arbuckle (7.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg). The Mustangs bring back five other letterwinners and three redshirts along with five new additions to the squad for the 2016-17 campaign.
Midwestern State opens up exhibition play Wednesday, Nov. 2 at Oklahoma with a 7 p.m. tipoff at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman. The Mustangs will also take on Texas Tech in exhibition play Sunday, Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. at the United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock before hosting the sixth annual Ashbrook Classic, Nov. 11-12, at D.L. Ligon Coliseum to begin the regular season.