NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After winning 18 games and advancing to the Ohio Valley Conference semifinals last season, SIUE women's basketball was selected to finish fourth in this year's preseason poll.
The OVC's preseason women's basketball poll, as selected by the head coaches and sports information directors, was announced Wednesday at the league's annual Media Day in Nashville.
"The OVC is going to be as solid, in my opinion, as it has ever been," said SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher. "This is my fifth year in the league, and from top to bottom it is going to be well balanced. It will be a fight night in and night out to see who is going to come out on top."
SIUE followed Belmont, UT Martin and Eastern Kentucky in the top four. The Bruins won the league tournament last season. The rest of the OVC ranked in the poll was Murray State, Southeast Missouri, Tennessee State, Jacksonville State, Austin Peay, Morehead State, Tennessee Tech and Eastern Illinois.
The 2016-17 regular season begins Nov. 11 at South Dakota. SIUE's first home contest is an exhibition game Nov. 6 against Lindenwood. The regular season home opener is Nov. 23 against SIU Carbondale.
2016-17 OVC Women's Basketball Predicted Order of Finish (Selected by OVC Head Basketball Coaches and Sports Information Directors)
Order of Finish Points
1. Belmont (21 first-place votes) 241
2. UT Martin (One first-place vote) 220
3. Eastern Kentucky (Two first-place votes) 190
4. SIUE 160
t5. Murray State 146
t5. Southeast Missouri 146
7. Tennessee State 138
8. Jacksonville State 90
9. Austin Peay 82
10. Morehead State 75
11. Tennessee Tech 70
12. Eastern Illinois 26
(*Schools were not allowed to rank their own team. 11 points awarded for a first-place vote, 10 for second, etc.)
Preseason OVC Player of the Year: Jalen O'Bannon, Eastern Kentucky
Jalen O'Bannon, Eastern Kentucky
Ke'Shunan James, Murray State
Kylee Smith, Belmont
Jayda Johnson, Tennessee State
Sally McCabe, Belmont
Darby Maggard, Belmont
Jessy Ward, UT Martin
Bri Mitchell, Southeast Missouri
Brianna McQueen, Morehead State
I'mani Davis, Tennessee State