MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande shares the top spot with East Division rival West Virginia University-Tech in the 2021-22 River States Conference Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Preseason Poll, which was released Thursday by the league office as part of the RSC’s Women’s Basketball Media Day.
The RedStorm, which finished 18-9 last season, received six first-place votes and 161 points in the balloting of the 14 head coaches in the league.
WVU-Tech garnered the remaining eight first-place votes and 161 points of their own. Both teams represented the RSC in the NAIA National Championship Tournament last season after the Golden Bears defeated Rio in the RSC tournament title game.
WVU Tech was picked as the favorite in the RSC East Division with 80 points, while Rio Grande was a close second with 78 points.
Both teams also have two players on the 10-player RSC Preseason All-Conference Team.
Rio Grande has senior guard Chyna Chambers (Columbus, OH) and junior Hailey Jordan (Columbus, OH). WVU Tech has senior returnees Brittney Justice and Whittney Justice back at guard.
Chambers averaged 11.2 points and 5.9 assists per game last season, ranking second nationally with 159 total assists. Jordan averaged 13.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game for head coach David Smalley, whose team opens its regular season schedule on Oct. 29 by hosting Milligan (Tenn.).
Midway (Ky.) University was picked third overall and was the favorite in the RSC West Division. The Eagles received 136 points in the overall conference polling and 79 points in the division.
Alice Lloyd (Ky.) College was predicted fourth overall and second in the RSC West. The Eagles received 118 points in the overall vote and 68 points within the division.
Indiana University East (111 pts.), Point Park (96 pts.), IU Kokomo (92 pts.), Oakland City (89 pts.), IU Southeast (81 pts.) and Ohio Christian (78 pts.) filled positions 6-10 in the overall voting, while Carlow (50 pts.), Brescia (45 pts.), Ohio Valley (32 pts.) and St. Mary-of-the-Woods (24 pts.) rounded out the poll.
Behind WVU-Tech and Rio in the East Division voting was IU East (57 pts.), Point Park (46 pts.), Ohio Christian (39 pts.), Carlow (25 pts.) and Ohio Valley (17 pts.).
Following Midway and Alice Lloyd in the West Division was Oakland City (59 pts.), IU Kokomo (52 pts.), IU Southeast (45 pts.), Brescia (28 pts.) and St. Mary-of-the Woods (20 pts.).
The remainder of the preseason All-Conference team included seniors Haley Hall from Alice Lloyd, Jill Enix of Midway and Point Park’s Michelle Burns, as well as juniors Rachel Gillum of Ohio Christian and Taylor Rinn from Point Park and Oakland City sophomore Emilee Hope.
The River States Conference has 14 member schools in five different states – Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. St. Mary-of-the-Woods (Ind.) College and Ohio Valley (W.Va.) University are in their first season as members of the RSC.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.