Vikings Picked 6th by GNAC Preseason Coaches Poll

Oct. 30, 2017

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- The Western Washington University women's basketball team has been predicted to place 6th in the 2017-18 GNAC Preseason Coaches Poll, announced Monday by the conference office in Portland, Ore.

The Vikings went 26-6 overall (18-2 GNAC) last year, placing 2nd in the conference and reaching the GNAC Championships final before advancing to the NCAA II West Regional semifinal with a team featuring five senior starters and three All-GNAC selections. WWU received 76 points in the preseason poll with just nine points separating places 3rd through 6th.

Alaska Anchorage is favored to claim a fourth consecutive GNAC regular-season title, receiving 106 points (six 1st-place votes) to edge out Seattle Pacific (103 points, two 1st-place votes) for the top spot. Central Washington (85 points, two 1st-place votes) and Northwest Nazarene (85 points, one 1st-place vote) tied for 3rd in the poll with Simon Fraser (78 points) predicted 5th.

WWU returns one starter and five letter winners from last season. Senior forward/center Hannah Stipanovich (St. Louis, MO/Clayton/MSU Denver) is WWU's returning starter, starting 16 games and appearing in all 32 games last season. She is one of two Preseason All-GNAC selections for the Vikings, joined by sophomore guard Lexie Bland (Ellensburg, WA).

The Vikings host Corban on Sunday (Nov. 5) at noon for the final exhibition game prior to the start of the regular season. Free admission will be offered for the contest, which is the second of two preseason games for WWU after the Vikings topped Trinity Western, 66-60, on Oct. 22 in the preseason opener.

WWU officially begins the season Nov. 10-11 at the West Region Crossover Classic in Fresno, Calif., facing tournament host Fresno Pacific on Nov. 10 at 7:30 pm. The following day the Vikings will oppose Humboldt State (11/11, 5:30 pm). After a second West Region Crossover Classic in Azusa, Calif., with games against UC San Diego (11/17, 5:30 pm) and tournament host Azusa Pacific (11/18, 7:30 pm), WWU will return home for its first official home games on Nov. 24-25 in the Lynda Goodrich Classic.

The Vikings open the Lynda Goodrich Classic on WECU Court at Carver Gym against Valdosta State (11/24, 5 pm) before facing Academy of Art (11/25, 7:30 pm) the next day. The GNAC opener for the Vikings is Oct. 28 at home against Simon Fraser (7 pm) and will be followed by a trip to take on Montana State Billings on Nov. 30 (7 pm MT).

2017-18 GNAC PRESEASON WOMEN'S BASKETBALL POLL

Team (1st Place Votes)

2016 Record (Finish)

Points

1.

Alaska Anchorage (6)

30-2 (20-0, 1st)

106

2.

Seattle Pacific (2)

19-11 (10-10, T-4th)

103

3.

Central Washington (2)

15-15 (9-11, T-6th)

85

3.

Northwest Nazarene (1)

12-15 (10-10, T-4th)

85

5.

Simon Fraser

26-8 (15-5, 3rd)

78

6.

Western Washington

26-6 (18-2, 2nd)

76

7.

Montana State Billings

8-20 (5-15, 9th)

66

8.

Concordia

12-16 (9-11, T-6th)

55

9.

Western Oregon

9-19 (4-16, 10th)

33

10.

Alaska

13-14 (9-11, T-6th)

21

11.

Saint Martin's

5-23 (1-19, 11th)

18

Votes awarded on a 11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

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