GREENWOOD, IN – Transylvania University has been voted the favorite to capture the 2013-14 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference women’s basketball championship. The Pioneers received seven of the ten first-place votes in the HCAC Coaches Preseason Poll and collected 94 points in all. Franklin College finished second, claiming two first place votes and 89 total points.
Hanover College placed third in the poll with 79 points and the final first place vote and was followed by Defiance College which claimed 65 points. Manchester University (60 pts), Bluffton University (50), Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (46), Earlham College (28), Anderson University (25), and College of Mount St. Joseph (14) rounded out the poll.
Transy finished atop the HCAC standings a year ago, finishing the 2012-13 season with a record of 21-6, 16-2 HCAC and will look for a second straight title this winter. The Pioneers lost to Hanover in the HCAC tournament championship 83-66, ending their season.
Transylvania returns a pair of All-HCAC selections to the court this winter. Junior guard Nicole Coffman (Liberty, Ky./Casey Co.) led the Pioneers in scoring as a sophomore (19.8 ppg) and was named the HCAC Most Valuable Player for her efforts. Coffman was recently selected as a NCAA DIII Women's Basketball Pre-Season All-American in the Great Lakes region by Women's DIII News. Sophomore guard Katelyn Smith (Hazard, Ky./Perry Co. Central) also returns for Transy after earning All-HCAC and Freshman of the Year honors. Smith contributed 15.0 points per game, while leading the conference in free throw percentage (87.1%).
Franklin finished one game behind Transylvania in the league standings a year ago, finishing the season 21-5 overall and 15-3 in league play. The Grizzlies ended the season with a 65-57 loss to Hanover in the HCAC tournament semifinals. The Grizzlies will look to fill the void left by a pair of All-HCAC selections from last season’s team. Junior center Lindsay Dall (Brownsburg, Ind./H.S.) is the returning leading scorer for the Grizzlies after averaging 9.5 points per game last winter.
The Hanover women’s team finished third in the league standings last season, posting a 21-8 overall record and a 12-6 mark in league play. Hanover defeated Transylvania in the HCAC tournament championship game, claiming a bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Panthers fell in the opening round 86-68 to Ohio Northern. Hanover returns All-HCAC selection Alicia Hopkins (Columbus, Ind./East) to the lineup this season. The junior guard averaged 12.8 points per game while leading the conference with 89 steals.
The opening games on the schedule are slated for November 15 with the first conference game scheduled for December 4.
2013-14 Women’s Basketball Players to Watch
Anderson: Jenna Wittenberg (Sr., F, 5-7, Bunker Hill, Ind./Maconaquah), Nyomi Deifel (Jr., C, 5-1, Baraboo, Wis./H.S.), Cori Conner (Jr., C, 5-10, Gloucester, N.J./H.S.), Mallory King (So., G, 5-10, Fishers, Ind./H.S.)
Bluffton: Brooke Ruffer (So., F, 5-10, Stryker, Ohio/H.S.), Kylee Burkholder (Sr., F, 5-9, West Unity, Ohio/Hilltop), Brenna Kurilec (Jr., G, 5-10, Mt. Gilead, Ohio/Gilead Christian), Taylor Whitaker (So., G, 5-4, Mansfield, Ohio/Lexington), Taylor Knight (So., G, 5-6, Perrysburg, Ohio/H.S.)
Defiance: Erica King (Sr., G, 5-6, Pettisville, Ohio/H.S.), Hannah Harshman (Sr., F, 5-10, Ohio City, Ohio/Parkway), Megan Zachrich (Jr., G, 5-8, Napoleon, Ohio/H.S.)
Earlham: Kasin Spay (So., G, 5-4, Muncie, Ind./Delta), Bria Sneed (Sr., G, 5-3, Indianapolis, Ind./University), JaLissa Watt (Jr., G, 5-4, St. Louis, Mo./St. Elizabeth Academy)
Franklin: Krista Schott (Sr., G, 5-10, Indianapolis, Ind./Perry Meridian), Lindsey Dall (Jr., C, 6-0, Brownsburg, Ind./H.S.), Lauren DeSutter (Fr., G, 5-5, Pittsboro, Ind./Tri-West), Katie Brewer (So., F, 6-2, Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli)
Hanover: Alicia Hopkins (Jr., G, 5-7, Columbus, Ind./East), Elyse Weddle (Sr., F, 5-9, Bloomfield, Ind./H.S.)
Manchester: Erynn Meiklejohn (Sr., F, 5-11, Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia), Katie Arterburn (So., G, 5-8, Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral)
Mount St. Joseph: Mel Monahan (Jr., G, 5-6, Mason, Ohio/Fenwick), Tara Dennis (So., F, 6-0, Batavia, Ohio/Williamsburg), Chelsea Castleberry (So., G, 5-5, Hebron, Ky./Conner)
Rose-Hulman: Kelsey Ploof (Sr., F, 5-11, Noblesville, Ind./H.S.), Lauren Meadows (Sr., G, 5-7, Indianapolis, Ind./Brebeuf Jesuit), Sheree Williams (Jr., G, 5-6, Bluffton, S.C/H.S.), Grace Gibbs (Jr., F, 6-0, Parker, Colo./Ponderosa), Cassidy Cain (So., G, 5-6, Noblesville, Ind./H.S.), Carrie Morris (So, G, 5-8, Altadena, Calif./Mayfield)
Transylvania: Nicole Coffman (Jr., G, 5-8, Liberty, Ky./Casey Co.), Madisen Webb (Jr., G, 5-10, Georgetown, Ky./Scott Co.), Alex McKenzie (Jr., F, 5-9, Georgetown, Ky./Scott Co.), Katelyn Smith (So., G, 5-8, Hazard, Ky./Perry Co. Central), Alex Botkin (So., G, 6-0, Lexington, Ky./Catholic)