ASC Sports Information Director
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – After making their second straight and second ever appearance in the last year’s NCAA Division II National Tournament, in which they advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, the ASC women’s basketball team has been tabbed for seventh in the 2011-12 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll, it was announced Tuesday by league officials.
Fort Lewis, led by Preseason Player of the Year Dana Schreibvogel, leads the preseason poll with 17 points and nine of the 13 possible first place votes, as coaches from around the league picked teams in order of predicted finish without choosing their own team. Metro State, last year’s regular season and RMAC Shootout Champions, come in at No. 2 with 26 points and five first place votes.
Colorado Christian (55 points), Colorado Mesa (60 points) and Colorado State-Pueblo (74 points) round out the top five, and Nebraska-Kearney was picked for sixth with 75 points, just ahead of the No. 7 Grizzlies with 81 points.
The RMAC’s top 10 is rounded out by Western State (96 points), UC-Colorado Springs (109 points) and Regis (120 points). Colorado Mines ranks 11th, while Chadron State and New Mexico Highlands share the 12 spot ahead of Western New Mexico in 14th.
In 2010-11, ASC won a NCAA Division II-era (1992-93/present) school record 23 games while posting an overall record of 23-10 and 15-7 in RMAC play. It was the Grizzlies’ second straight season setting a new DII-era record for wins (21 in 2009-10), and their second straight and second ever trip to the NCAA Division II National Tournament.
As the No. 8 seed in the Central Regional Tournament, the Grizzlies upset top-seeded and nationally 5th-ranked Fort Lewis, 77-66, in the first round. ASC then beat No. 4 seed Northern State before bowing out against the Roadrunners, ranked 10th nationally at the time, in the Central Region Championship game.
The Grizzlies lost all five starters from last year’s squad, including all-time ASC scoring leader Vera Jo Bustos and DII-era career leader in games played Kendra Coveal.
Bustos concluded her career as a 2-time Division II Bulletin Honorable Mention All-American, and also earned 2011 WBCA DII State Farm All-America Honorable Mention and a 2010 Daktronics Honorable Mention All-American, as well as a 3-time All-RMAC First Team selection.
Coveal also earned All-RMAC First Team accolades at the end of the 2010-11 season. Also gone from last year’s squad are All-RMAC Second Team performer Kelsie Kruger, Crystal Loch and Ruchelle McCracken.
Back for the Grizzlies in 2011-12 is senior Chloe Cable (Mesa, Ariz.), a starter during the 2009-10 season who missed a portion of last season due to injury, but returned for the end of the year and played in the RMAC and Central Regional Tournament. Cable averaged 5.3 points and 5.9 rebounds in 17 games last season.
Also back will be juniors Jamonica Hudgins (Las Cruces, N.M.), Chloe Ray (Arvada, Colo.) and Deanna Reich (Mesa, Ariz.), each of whom saw considerable action last season.
Hudgins played in 20 games last season and made 14 starts, averaging 4.8 points and 2.1 assists per game. Ray saw action in 18 games, while Reich played in 31 contests while putting up 2.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game in addition to grabbing nine steals and recording four blocks.
Preseason action will get underway for the Grizzlies this weekend, as the squad travels to face Southern Utah in Cedar City on Friday night, and Weber State in Ogden on Saturday. Both exhibition games will get underway at 7 p.m.
The Grizzlies will then begin their season with non-conference action on the road against Oklahoma Panhandle State and Northern Arizona on Nov. 12 & 15, before travelling to Phoenix, Ariz., to take part in the Grand Canyon Tournament on Nov. 18-19.
ASC will finally kick-off its RMAC and home schedule as the Grizzlies host Colorado State-Pueblo in a women’s-men’s doubleheader at Plachy Hall on Friday, Dec. 2, with the women’s game getting underway at 6 p.m.