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Women's Basketball - Wed, Oct. 16, 2013

Head women's basketball coaches in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) have selected Davenport as the preseason favorite. The Panthers received 11 of 12 first-place votes in the 2013-14 Preseason Rating after finishing last season as the national runner-ups. Siena Heights is picked second after qualifying for its first-ever national tournament. Indiana Techs Rachel Kruse was chosen as the Preseason Player of the Year. The Preseason All-Conference Team can be found after the team capsules.

RankTeam1st Place
2Siena Heights1127
3Madonna 105
4Concordia 99
5Indiana Tech 96
6Cornerstone 92
7Aquinas 77
8Northwestern Ohio 69
9Lawrence Tech 43
10Lourdes 37
11Michigan-Dearborn 34
12Marygrove 18

Team Capsules

1. Davenport 34-3 (20-2)
The seven-time defending WHAC champions and national runner-up has a big hole to fill after losing NAIA First Team All-American Karli Harris, but head coach Mike Williams hopes a solid core of players with national experience returning grouped with a trio of experienced transfers will do the trick. Senior Alison Bouman is one of only two players who appeared in all 37 games last season and shot 50% from the field.West Georgia (NCAA II) transfer Brittany Johnson will add strength to the line up having averaged 9.3 points and 7.2 rebounds during her sophomore season and Delta CC product Kelly Dineen touts a slew of honors on her resume.

2. Siena Heights 23-10 (17-5)
SHU returns five of its top eight players from last year's first-ever national championship tournament team. Sue Syljebeck will rely heavily on her back court as Grace Howrigon returns for her senior campaign after being named Honorable Mention All-WHAC while leading scorer Sierra Calhoun and First Team All-WHAC Morgan Warfield start their junior seasons. A recruiting class of highly-rated freshmen should offset the loss of key post players.

3. Madonna 20-11 (15-7)
Despite losing his entire starting line up to graduation, the Crusaders are expected to be competitive in the league. Carl Graves returns nine letter winners from last year's team, including Honorable Mention All-WHAC performer Rachel Melcher and junior Chelsea Williams. Fresh faces include a couple of JoCo signees and a transfer from University of New Hampshire.

4. Concordia 28-7 (20-2)
First year head coach Thad Sankey will have to start fresh this year as four key players from last year's WHAC co-champions and national tournament appearance team are gone: seniors Hannah Sabol, Marion Rodriguez and Kelly Cieslak, and WHAC Player of the Year Abby Hengesbach. The good news is Sabol's younger sister, Becca, starts her career in a CUAA jersey.

5. Indiana Tech 13-18 (11-11)
The Warriors are coming off their best WHAC record for conference games. Head coach Jessie Biggs will look to returning seniors Rachel Kruse and Ulyssia Richmond for leadership. Expectations are big for Kruse as she was chosen as the Preseason Player of the Year. University of Toledo transfer Taylor Carver will also figure into the mix.

6. Cornerstone 19-12 (13-9)
Katelyn Cousins and Ashley Niedermayer step into leadership roles to lead Katie Mattera's Golden Eagles. Newcomer Emma Lockhart, who averaged 12.3 points, 5.0 assists, and 5.0 steals on the Pioneer Dream Team, looks to lessen the loss of Third Team All-American Robyn Veltkamp.

7. Aquinas 12-16 (8-14)
With the return of Taelor Sanders and Allison Heberlien, the Saints look to push into the upper half of the league standings. Linda Nash added some speed to the roster in Kelsey Spitzley and Taylor Pitss, a pair of All-League performers.

8. Northwestern Ohio 11-20 (8-14)
Rebecca Puckett rejoins the team after missing last season with an injury. Three key returners in Lauren Hopfner, Sammi Dervisevic and Kylie Kahlig will provide leadership for Kyle Menchhofer.

9. Lawrence Tech 7-19 (5-17)
The Bleu Devils return all letter winners from last year's team. Leading scorer Jackie Hood and team captain Allison Bicknell return for their senior seasons and head coach Mary Pinkowski added four high school standouts to the mix.

10. Lourdes 9-21 (6-16)
Seasoned coach Karen McConnell starts her first year with the Gray Wolves with 12 varsity players from last year. Lauren Tilden, Emily Orsini, and Tiffany Scott provided nearly 25 of the team's points and will look to a few newcomers for help.

11. Michigan-Dearborn 10-19 (9-13)
This season looks to be a rebuilding year for UMD with new coach Dymetrius Ware and a roster of new players. The team lost standout Chelsea Davis to graduation and look to replace her with Jalissa Williams and Danielle Cowart.

12. Marygrove 1-27 (0-22)
Senior Ciara Moore leads a revamped roster for Tony Hitchcock. A deep, talented recruiting class has the Mustangs poised for an improved season.

Preseason All-Conference Team
Rachel Kruse, Indiana Tech
Morgan Warfield, Siena Heights
Ulyssia Richmond, Indiana Tech
Rachel Melcher, Madonna
Taelor Sanders, Aquinas


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