Portland State Vikings guard Kylie Jimenez. Bryan Carter/PSU Vanguard

Vikings Women’s Basketball gears up for new season

Portland State’s Women’s Basketball team is preparing for what could be another memorable season. Their first exhibition game is rapidly approaching, and three Vikings players are up for the Big Sky Preseason All-Conference Team. 

Desirae Hansen, the versatile guard, averaged 7.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists as a freshman off the bench. Hansen’s ability to stretch the floor with 38% shooting from 3-point range and handle the ball effectively as a 6-foot guard produced significant matchup problems for opposing teams. 

Jordan Stotler, the 6’4” forward, is entering her senior season after averaging 6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 2018–19. Stotler remains PSU’s staple in the post, as she shot nearly 50% from the field and used her length not only to block various shot attempts but to alter them as well. 

Kylie Jimenez, the junior guard, was electric last season with averages of 11.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.6 steals. As the point guard, Jimenez plays a crucial role in orchestrating the flow of the team’s offense. Her on-ball defense on the other end of the floor is what made her an elite two-way player and garnered her an All-Big Sky Honorable Mention in 2018–19.

Having lead role players return will be of heavy significance for a team that made it to the Women’s NCAA Tournament last season with a senior-laden roster. In 2018–19, Women’s Basketball won 25 games after finishing the season with only four wins three years prior. It was the first time since 2011 they had won 20 or more games and the first time since 2010 they had corralled a Big Sky Tournament title and qualified for the NCAA Tournament. 

The Vikings are scheduled to participate in the Preseason Women’s National Invitational Tournament, which will give them a chance to showcase their talent against schools from bigger conferences and prove they are on the track to perhaps a second consecutive conference title and an NCAA Tournament appearance. They will begin the preseason WNIT in Boise, Idaho against the Boise State Broncos.

Before conference play begins, PSU will welcome in one of the biggest opponents to ever come to town as University of Tennessee will visit Viking Pavilion on Dec 21. They remain one of the most storied women’s basketball teams in the NCAA. The Lady Vols have won 17 conference regular seasons and tournament titles, made 18 Final Four appearances and won eight national championships. 

Riding a wave of momentum from last season’s run and returning key players up for preseason honors, PSU Women’s Basketball should be an exciting and intriguing team to watch during the upcoming season.