FREELAND, Mich. – After a strong 2016-17 season culminated in Trine's first-ever NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship berth, the Thunder were the unanimous pick to repeat both their MIAA regular season title in 2017-18.
Trine received all eight possible first-place votes (teams cannot vote for themselves) for 64 points. Hope received the remaining first-place vote and gathered 56 points to rank second. Calvin garnered 50 points for third place in the preseason poll, while Albion tallied 43 points for fourth.
Adrian reaped 35 points for fifth place, while Alma gathered 28 points and sixth overall. Olivet (19 points), Kalamazoo (16 points), and Saint Mary's (13 points) rounded out the poll.
Trine (25-3 in 2016-17, 15-1 MIAA) return two first-team All-MIAA selections in Hayley Martin (Sr., C, Auburn, Ind.) and Brandi Dawson (Jr., F, Garrett, Ind.) to aid in their target of repeating as MIAA champions in 2017-18. Last season, Trine advanced to the NCAA Championship Second Round in their first-ever postseason berth.
Hope (24-5, 14-2) is coming off a Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Championship after knocking off Thomas More in the second round. Francesca Buchanan (Jr., F/C, Grant, Mich.) was a first-team All-MIAA performer last season and returns this campaign.
Calvin (22-6, 12-4) gave the MIAA three teams in the NCAA Championship for the first time since the 1998-99 season, proving the competitiveness of the conference at the regional and national level. The Knights again will feature Ali Spayde (Sr., G, Lewis Center, Ohio) on the court, a first-team All-MIAA selection last season.
Albion (18-8, 11-5) finished fourth in the MIAA standings in 2016-17, a season that included a thrilling overtime win over Hope at home in late January. Emily Bernas (G/F, So., Waterford, Mich.) had a standout freshman campaign last year, earning second-team All-MIAA accolades.
The 2017-18 women's basketball season begins Tuesday, Nov. 14 when Olivet competes at Ferris State, with all nine teams taking the court at least once by Nov. 18. MIAA competition begins Tuesday, Nov. 21 when Alma hosts Olivet at 7:30 p.m.
|9.||Saint Mary's||13 points|