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No. 22 Colorado State favored in Mountain West women’s tournament

When the Mountain West women’s basketball tournament begins Monday, Colorado State will be the favorite.

But UNLV coach Kathy Olivier said the conference has parity, and she expects that to be on display at the Thomas and Mack Center.

“You look at the conference, and every matchup that first round is going to be tough,” Olivier said. “I think you’re going to see a lot of really good games and probably a lot of close games, too.”

Here’s a quick look at the 11 teams, with seeding in parentheses:

COLORADO STATE (1)

At 28-1 and 18-0 in conference play, the No. 22 Rams, the conference’s only ranked team, enter the tournament on a 25-game winning streak and haven’t lost since November.

FRESNO STATE (2)

Top scorer Bego Faz Davalos is averaging a near double-double at 12.3 points and 9.4 rebounds. She leads the conference in rebounding and blocks (4.0).

BOISE STATE (3)

Three players — Brooke Pahukoa, Miquelle Askew and Shalen Shaw — are averaging more than 12 points.

SAN JOSE STATE (4)

After losing eight straight in nonconference play, the Spartans have had more success in the Mountain West. Dezz Ramos is second in the conference in scoring at 18.2 points per game.

NEW MEXICO (5)

Khadijah Shumpert leads the Lobos in scoring (14.4) and rebounding (6.1). Las Vegas native Cherise Beynon is second on the team in both categories.

UNLV (6)

The Lady Rebels are 2-0 against Air Force, their first-round opponent, with 60-56 and 62-51 victories.

UTAH STATE (7)

The Aggies rank in the top half of the conference in scoring offense, but are eighth in scoring defense. Sophomore guard Funda Nakkasoglu leads the Mountain West in scoring at 21.1 points per game.

SAN DIEGO STATE (8)

The Aztecs are one of four teams in the conference with a negative scoring margin, giving up 4.7 more points per game than they average. McKynzie Fort leads San Diego State with 14.4 points per game.

WYOMING (9)

Senior Marquelle Dent is third in the conference at 15.6 points per game, but the Cowgirls ended conference play 6-12. They play San Diego State in the first round, a team they lost to twice.

UNR (10)

Nyasha LeSure and Stephanie Schmid lead the Wolf Pack, averaging 12.7 and 11.3 points. But UNR is near the bottom of the Mountain West in most major statistical categories.

AIR FORCE (11)

The Falcons are 1-28 overall and 1-17 in the conference — a six-point victory over UNR.

Betsy Helfand can be reached at bhelfand@reviewjournal.com. Follow on Twitter: @BetsyHelfand.

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