Women's Basketball Picked Fifth in MAC West Preseason Poll
KALAMAZOO, Mich.- Western Michigan was picked to finish fifth in the Mid-American Conference West Division preseason women's basketball poll, released by the conference office, Wednesday, Oct. 31.
The Broncos are under the direction of first-year head coach Shane Clipfell and return 10 of 11 letterwinners from last year's squad which finished fifth in the West with an 8-22 overall and 5-11 conference record.
Toledo was selected as the favorite to win the West, as well as the MAC Tournament. Central Michigan was slated to finish second in the division, followed by Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, WMU and Ball State.
Miami ousted perennial powerhouse Bowling Green for the top spot in the East. The Falcons were tabbed second in the East, followed by Akron, Ohio, Kent State and Buffalo.
Half of the programs in the conference have had a change in leadership from last year to the current season. Joining Clipfell as first-year head coaches at their respective programs are Brady Sallee (Ball State), Jennifer Roos (Bowling Green), Felisha Legette-Jack (Buffalo), Danielle O'Banion (Kent State) and Tory Verdi (Eastern Michigan).
Lone senior, Aurielle Anderson, is the Broncos' top returning scorer, averaging 9.1 points per game during 2011-12. Sophomore Julia Henson is the next top returning scorer, having produced 8.0 ppg. Henson made 71 of the team's 157 three-pointers last year, fifth most in a single season at WMU.
Junior Corie Buchanan is the leading returning rebounder, pulling down 5.3 boards per game last year. Buchanan also had a team-best 105 assists and 65 steals and averaged 7.8 ppg.
Three freshmen, 6-1 forward Jessica Jessing, 5-8 guard Alex Morton and 5-11 forward Miracle Woods, join the roster, as does 6-0 Oakland transfer Jenna Bachrouche. Bachrouche will have to sit this year however, due to NCAA transfer rules.
Western Michigan hosts a pair of preseason exhibition games before opening the regular season at home against WNIT participant and defending Patriot League regular-season champion American Friday, Nov. 10, at 2 p.m.
The Broncos' first preseason tune-up is this Friday, Nov. 2, against Wayne State at University Arena. WMU then welcomes Trine, Wednesday, Nov. 7. Both exhibition contests start at 7 p.m.
MAC East Division Predicted Order of Finish
1. Miami (16 First Place Votes)
2. Bowling Green (13)
3. Akron (1)
5. Kent State
East Division Preseason All-MAC Team
Rachael Tecca, Akron
Alexis Rogers, Bowling Green
Courtney Osborn, Miami
Chrissy Steffan, Bowling Green
Kristen Olowinski, Miami
MAC West Division Predicted Order of Finish
1. Toledo (24 First Place Votes)
2. Central Michigan (6)
3. Eastern Michigan
4. Northern Illinois
5. Western Michigan
6. Ball State
West Division Preseason All-MAC Team
Crystal Bradford, Central Michigan
Natachia Watkins, Eastern Michigan
Naama Shafir, Toledo
Andola Dortch, Toledo
Yolanda Richardson, Toledo
MAC Women's Basketball Tournament Champion: Toledo (16), Central Michigan (12), Bowling Green (2)