NEW ALBANY, Ind. – The University of Rio Grande tied for fifth overall and for second among East Division schools in the 2017-18 River States Conference Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll released Thursday by conference officials.
The poll and preseason all-conference team were selected through balloting of the league’s 13 head coaches. The coaches’ poll listed the teams overall, regardless of division, as well as by the six-team East Division and seven-school West Division. The preseason all-conference team selected the top 10 players in the conference.
Rio Grande garnered 97 points in the balloting on the overall list, tying WVU-Tech – which received one first-place vote – for fifth place. The two schools tallied 44 points to tie for second place in the East Division, with the Golden Bears (18-12 last season) garnering two first-place nods.
Junior Jaida Carter (New Philadelphia, OH) represented the RedStorm on the 10-player Preseason All-Conference Team. She averaged 11.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game for head coach David Smalley’s club, which finished 19-12 last season.
Indiana University East was tabbed as the league’s clear favorite with with 11 of 13 first-place votes overall. The Red Wolves are also the favorites in the RSC East Division with 11 of 13 first-place votes there as well.
IU East has several players returning from last year’s 29-6 team, which won the RSC regular-season and tournament championships and reached the final 16 teams of the NAIA Division II National Championship. The Red Wolves ended the year ranked No. 15 in the country.
Midway (Ky.) University was picked second overall in the conference and as the favorite in the RSC West Division. The Eagles had a big turnaround last year finishing 22-10 overall and as an RSC Tournament semifinalist. Midway got 7 of 13 first-place votes in the RSC West.
IU Kokomo was chosen third in the overall ballot and second in the RSC West. The Cougars, who were 21-13 last year, received one first-place vote in the overall poll and five of 13 first-place votes to win their division.
IU Kokomo finished 2016-17 “receiving votes” in the NAIA DII Top 25 Poll and reached the national tournament.
Ohio Christian University (22-11) was tabbed fourth overall in the conference, just ahead of Rio and WVU-Tech, and fourth in the RSC East – just behind Rio and WVU-Tech.
IU Southeast (16-15) was tabbed seventh overall in the conference and third in the RSC West. The Grenadiers garnered one first-place vote in the division.
Also predicted as a playoff team in the RSC West is Asbury (Ky.) University (15-15), which is ninth in the conference and fourth in the division. Point Park (Pa.) University (18-12) is predicted in between those schools at eighth overall and is fifth in the RSC East.
Next in the poll are Alice Lloyd (Ky.) College, Cincinnati Christian University and Brescia (Ky.) University from the RSC West and Carlow (Pa.) University from the RSC East.
Joining Carter on the All-Conference team are the Indiana East quartet of seniors Tia King, Kristen Miller and Mackenzie Campbell and junior Bailey Drieman; Indiana Kokomo seniors Whitney Williamson and Deja Felder; WVU Tech junior Savannah Shamblin; Midway sophomore Timitryi Patterson; and Carlow sophomore Emma Stille.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for the University of Rio Grande.