Randy PaytonSpecial to OVP
October 23, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Rio Grande women’s basketball team has been picked to finish eighth in the Mid-South Conference according to the preseason coaches poll released by the league on Sunday.
The RedStorm received 29 points in the balloting of the conference coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own team.
Veteran head coach David Smalley returns a trio of starters and five letter winners from last year’s team, which finished 17-14 overall and 6-10 inside the MSC.
Shawnee State University was the overwhelming top choice among the league coaches. The Bears received 96 voting points and eight of the 11 first-place votes.
Shawnee State shared the MSC regular season title last season with a 14-2 conference mark. The Bears ended 2011-12 with a 28-6 record and an appearance in the NAIA National Tournament’s second round.
Georgetown College grabbed second in the poll with 84 voting points and two first-place votes. The Tigers—who ended last season at 24-10—made the deepest run of any MSC team in last season’s national tournament with an appearance in the national semifinals.
Campbellsville University finished third in the balloting with 80 voting points in the poll and the final first-place vote. The Tigers finished with a 20-13 record last season en route to the making an appearance in the national tournament.
University of the Cumberlands and Lindsey Wilson tied for fourth as each team received 74 voting points in the poll.
Cumberlands shared last season’s regular season title with Shawnee State and won the MSC Tournament while Lindsey Wilson finished 2011-12 with a 20-13 overall record. Both teams reached the national tournament last season.
MSC newcomer Cumberland University was sixth in the balloting with 52 voting points following by St. Catharine College in seventh with 51 voting points.
The remaining teams in the preseason poll included Rio Grande, University of Pikeville (27), UVa.-Wise (21) and Bluefield College (18).
Last season, the Mid-South Conference sent five teams to the national tournament and consistently placed five teams in the national poll. Cumberland and Bluefield joins the MSC for the 2012-13 season after moving to the conference over the summer.
The Mid-South Conference regular season tips-off in mid-November with the MSC Tournament set for Feb. 28 through March 3 in Frankfort, Ky.