While the tipoff of the Albion College women's basketball season is still a week away, the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association looked ahead to February today as it released its preseason coaches poll.
If the coaches are correct, Albion will be one of the four teams remaining for the league tournament.
Albion, which finished fourth with an 11-5 record against MIAA rivals a year ago, is picked to finish there at the end of the 2017-18 season.
Trine University was installed as the favorite to repeat as league championship, receiving the first place vote from the other eight coaches. Hope College, which received Trine's vote to finish first, was picked to finish second, followed by Calvin College.
Under the direction of 17th-year Head Coach Doreen Carden, Albion returns nine letter winners from last year's team. Emily Bernas, a sophomore who prepped at Waterford Kettering High School, achieved all-MIAA second team distinction after averaging 12 ½ points and five rebounds in the 16 league games.
Despite having experience on the roster, Carden warned that the Britons have to prove themselves on the court.
"It's great to be recognized as one of the top four teams in the league, however, we also know it's a preseason poll," Carden said. "It's a new year with different looks from teams around the league, so in order to be at the top we have a lot of work to do all season.
"I feel like we have a good mixture of talent this year," Carden added. "The seniors and juniors in the program know how to work hard. We have to get them to mold the younger players to offset the youth we'll see on the court."
The Britons officially tipoff the season with a Nov. 15 game at Anderson, Ind., University. Albion's home opener is a Nov. 18 date against Defiance, Ohio, College. The Britons also have a Nov. 26 home date against Lourdes, Ohio, University before launching into play against MIAA rivals with a Dec. 2 date at Saint Mary's, Ind., College.
Albion has two home games against MIAA rivals in December – a Dec. 9 meeting with Hope College and a Dec. 16 date with Kalamazoo College.
The complete MIAA women's basketball preseason poll follows with first place votes in parenthesis.
- Trine (8) – 64 points
- Hope (1) – 56
- Calvin – 50
- Albion – 43
- Adrian – 35
- Alma – 28
- Olivet – 19
- Kalamazoo - 16
- Saint Mary's – 13
Follow the Britons on Twitter: @AlbionWBB