MISSOULA — The Montana State Bobcats, who finished third in last season's conference tournament, were a unanimous choice for second in the Big Sky women's hoops coaches and media polls that were released by the league Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, the Montana Lady Griz were picked fifth by the coaches and seventh by the media in the first Big Sky women's hoops preseason polls of head coach Brian Holsinger's tenure. 

Idaho State, the 2020-21 regular season and conference tournament champ, was picked first in both polls with 10 first-place votes from the coaches, who were unable to vote for their own team, and 17 from media members. Montana State trailed with one first-place vote on the coaches' side and one in the media poll.

Idaho State beat in-state rival Idaho, 84-49, in the 2021 conference tournament championship game. The top-seeded Bengals took each of their three wins in their tournament run by double-digits.

Idaho was third in both, and then the two polls start to diverge after the top three in spots four through 11.

The coaches went with Northern Arizona, Montana, Southern Utah, Northern Colorado, Sacramento State, Portland State, Weber State and Eastern Washington to round out the poll.

Meanwhile the media voted Southern Utah, Northern Arizona (one first-place vote), Northern Colorado, Montana, Portland State, Sacramento State, Eastern Washington and lastly Weber State in the final eight spots.

The Lady Griz start the 2021-22 season with the Maroon-Silver scrimmage at Dalhberg Arena next Wednesday at 5 p.m. followed by an exhibition game against Rocky Mountain College, Friday, Nov. 5.

The Bobcats are scheduled to hold their Blue-Gold scrimmage on Oct. 20 and will face the South Dakota School of Mines in an exhibition on Saturday, Nov. 6, in Bozeman.

Lance Hartzler covers Griz men's basketball and prep sports for the Missoulian. Follow him on Twitter at @lance_hartz or shoot him an email at Lance.Hartzler@406mtsports.com.

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