The Wildcats finished 2011-12, 6-24 overall and 4-14 in the HAAC and were picked to finish ninth this season tied with Culver-Stockton, each received 24 points in the poll.
“We brought in 10 new players this year and I feel like we have definitely improved our size,” said Lister. “We have a lot more balance between our freshman and our upperclassmen and we should look a lot different and we’re excited to get the season started.”
Defending Heart of America Athletic Conference champion MidAmerica Nazarene received nine of ten first-place votes to sit atop the 2012 HAAC Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
The Pioneers received a full 81 voting points (coaches did not vote for their own teams) to finish 15 points ahead of runner-up Avila, which claimed 66 points to edge out Benedictine for second place by four votes. The Ravens received the remaining first place vote as well as one-second place vote.
The final two teams in the top five were separated by just one voting point as Central Methodist (57 points) finished just ahead of Evangel (56). The Eagles were the surprise team last season as they improved from a last place finish two seasons ago to claim third place and improve their conference mark by 10 victories. E
Evangel will be looking to move back toward the top of the league after winning the conference two seasons ago.
A logjam unfolded between the remaining five teams as they were separated by only three points, which included two ties. Graceland and Missouri Valley tied for sixth place while Peru State was one point behind in eighth.
Culver- Stockton and Baker also shared the same total to finish level for the final two places.
The opening day of competition will be Thursday, November 1 as Benedictine and Graceland will be in action. The opening round of conference games is set for Thursday, November 29 before conference play resumes on Thursday, January 3. The HAAC Tournament begins on Wednesday, February 27 with the championship game scheduled for Monday, March 4 at the site of the highest remaining seed.
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