MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande was selected second in the East Division and fourth overall in the 2019-20 River States Conference Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
The poll, along with the preseason all-conference team, was announced on Tuesday as part of the league’s Media Day activities.
The RedStorm received one first place vote in the divisional balloting of the conference’s 13 head coaches and finished with 52 points.
In the overall balloting, Rio tallied 100 points.
Head coach David Smalley’s club, which finished 16-15 overall and 6-11 in league play last season after losing three starters to knee injuries and two others to the injury bug, returns four letter winners from a year ago and has 11 players who are either newcomers to the program altogether or who have no previous varsity experience.
The RedStorm will open their season on November 1, at home, against Ohio University-Lancaster.
WVU Tech was picked as the preseason favorite coming off its RSC Championship in 2018-19.
The Golden Bears, who were 24-10 overall and 16-1 in RSC play last season, won the East Division and regular-season championship, as well as the RSC Tournament, and led the league’s representatives at the NAIA Division II National Championship.
Tech received 143 total points in the preseason poll and 11 of 13 first-place votes. They were chosen as the unanimous favorites in the RSC East getting 12 of the 13 possible first-place votes.
Alice Lloyd (Ky.) College was picked second in the preseason poll after its NAIA national tournament appearance a year ago.
The Eagles, who were 20-10 overall and 13-5 in the RSC en route to the West Division title, received 126 votes in the overall poll and the remaining two first-place votes. ALC was chosen as the preseason favorite in the RSC West with 70 votes and 10 of the 13 first-place votes.
Indiana University Kokomo was chosen third in the overall preseason poll and second in the RSC West, right behind Alice Lloyd in each instance. The Cougars, 18-11 overall and 13-5 in the RSC last year, got 121 votes in the overall poll, 68 in the divisional poll and earned two first-place votes to win the division.
The top four teams in each division will qualify for the RSC Championship. Other predicted playoff teams include IU East and Point Park (Pa.) University in third and fourth place, respectively, in the RSC East and Cincinnati Christian University and Midway (Ky.) University as third and fourth, respectively, in the RSC West.
IU Southeast was picked fifth in the RSC West, although it received a vote to win the division.
The preseason all-conference team represented nine different schools, although Rio Grande was not represented.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.