Defending Champion Keuka College Picked No. 1 in NEAC Women's Basketball Preseason Poll

Defending Champion Keuka College Picked No. 1 in NEAC Women's Basketball Preseason Poll

GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – After winning its eighth title in 2018, Keuka College has been picked to repeat its success in the 2018-19 North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Women’s Basketball preseason poll.   

Keuka College received 10 first-place votes and 120 total points to earn the top spot in the preseason rankings. The Wolves went 13-3 against NEAC opponents in the last season and finished with a 21-6 overall record. NEAC Coach of the Year Gary Broadhurst is back for his second season with three returning starters from his championship squad. Senior guard Lauren Anten (Rochester, N.Y.) in on pace to eclipse 1,000 career points this year after averaging 12.6 points per game to earn NEAC All-Conference Third Team honors in 2017-18. Junior Sam Laranjo (Averill Park, N.Y.) is also expected to make an impact after being named the Most Valuable Player in last year’s NEAC Tournament. The Wolves will rely on their depth and experience as they prepare for a schedule that includes non-conference contests against UMass-Boston, SUNY Cortland and St. John Fisher.

SUNY Poly took second place with 101 points and the final two first-place votes. NEAC All-Conference guard Kiersten Leos (Camden, N.Y.) will lead the Wildcats after ranking fourth in points (470) and 10th in points per game (17.4) last season. Senior Rylie Smith (St. Johnsville, N.Y.) and junior Taylor Aybar (Woodside, N.Y.) are also part of the returning core that went 15-1 in conference play to earn the NEAC Regular Season Championship. While SUNY Poly will have to overcome the loss of NEAC Player of the Year Khristaijah Jackson (Levittown, Pa.), head coach Jess Skelton adds a solid recruiting class that includes Molly Burdick and Samantha Dayter in hopes of guiding the Wildcats to their fourth-straight appearance in the NEAC Championship. In addition to a full slate of conference games, SUNY Poly will play the likes of Hamilton, SUNY Cortland and Juniata.

Lancaster Bible also earned 101 points to finish third in the coaches’ poll after winning the NEAC South Division Title in 2018. Head coach Katelyn Vanderhoff returns three of five starters, including NEAC All-Conference First Team selections Caitlin Hickey (Lancaster, Pa.) and Courtney Goyak (Beecher, Wis.). Hickey ranked seventh in the league with 455 points last year while Goyak led the NEAC with 476 rebounds and 18.3 rebounds per game. Sophomore forward Leah Steiner (New Holland, Pa.) will also be expected to play a key role for the Chargers after starting all 26 games in 2017-18.  Lancaster Bible will look to prepare for another run to the NEAC postseason with non-conference games against Staten Island, York (Pa.) and Dickinson.

With 89 points, Morrisville State lands at No. 4 in the preseason poll. Head Coach Erin Skaradek returns with her two top scorers from last season in NEAC All-Conference selection Tori Rockefeller (Bloomville, N.Y.) and NEAC Rookie of the Year Alexis Campbell (Buffalo, N.Y.). In 26 games last season, Rockefeller and Campbell averaged 14.6 and 12.7 points per game, respectively. Forwards Charlotte Walker (Middle Island, N.Y.) and Savannah Hobbie (South Kortright, N.Y.) also return after playing considerable minutes in 2017-18. The Mustangs have also added two key transfers in Sierra Henry (Newfield, N.Y.) and Virginia Wheatley (Millerton, N.Y.) to bring additional experience to a team that will meet SUNY Geneseo, Hamilton and Houghton in non-conference play.

Penn State Abington rounds out the top five in this year’s poll with 83 total points. The Nittany Lions’ returners include NEAC All-Conference First Team selection Shayna Rodriguez (Philadelphia, Pa.) who ranked second among conference players with 568 points and 21.8 points per game. Senior Grace Dewey (Falls Church, Va.) will also be a key returner after appearing in all 26 games last year and averaging 11.7 rebounds per game. After advancing to the NEAC Semifinals last season, head coach Shayla Johnson prepares for her third season with a strong group of newcomers in hopes of another push to the postseason.

The full 2018-19 NEAC Women's Basketball preseason rankings can be found below:

Rank Institution (First-Place Votes) Total Points
1. Keuka College (10) 120
2. SUNY Poly (2) * 101
3. Lancaster Bible * 101
4. Morrisville State 89
5. Penn State Abington 83
6. Gallaudet University 74
7. Penn State Berks 52
8. SUNY Cobleskill 51
9. Wells College 38
10. College of Saint Elizabeth 37
11. Cazenovia College 32
12. Penn College 14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Tie broken by higher ordinal number points  

The preseason poll rankings were conducted by the NEAC women’s basketball coaches, with each coach ranking all teams but their own using a staggered points system (11 points for a first-place vote, 10 points for second, etc.). The 2018-19 NEAC women’s basketball season will begin Thursday, Nov. 8, with the full season schedule being available on the NEAC website

********************************************************************************************************************************************

The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has 12 NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Cazenovia College, College of Saint Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, Morrisville State, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and Wells College. Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (W Lacrosse), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse), Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf), and Wilson College (M Volleyball). The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sport of men’s tennis and with the Colonial State Athletic Conference in the sport of Field Hockey. For more information, please visit: www.neacsports.com.