NCAA VOLLEYBALL: SMSU picked 16th in preseason poll

BURNSVILLE – The Southwest Minnesota State University women’s basketball team was picked to finish 16th in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll on Wednesday.

Concordia-St. Paul was selected as the favorite in the overall and in the NSIC South Division poll. The Golden Bears received 217 points and 10 first place votes. Minnesota State was a close second with 214 points and five first place votes. Wayne State was third with 176 points while last year’s NSIC/Sanford Health Women’s Basketball Tournament Champions of Augustana College came in fourth. The Vikings received one first place vote. St. Cloud State was fifth overall and the coaches’ choice in the North Division. SMSU earned 22 points and was tabbed to finish 16th overall and eighth in the South Division.

NSIC coaches rank each team from 1 to 15 with a first place vote receiving 15 points, second place 14, third place 13, etc. Coaches do not rank their own team or vote for their own players.

The regular season champion will be based on the 22-game NSIC schedule. Each team will play teams in their division twice (14) and teams in the other division once (eight). An NSIC North and South Division championship will also be awarded.

Divisional standings will also be based on all 22 NSIC contests played. In the case of a tie, co-champions will be awarded.

The 16-team NSIC/Sanford Health Women’s Basketball Tournament quarterfinals, semifinals and championships are set to take place March 1-4 at the Sanford Health Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. First round games will be played on the campus of the top eight seeds on Feb. 26.

The 2013-14 NSIC Women’s Basketball season gets underway Nov. 8 and NSIC action begins on the week of Nov. 25.

Anika Whiting, a junior forward for Concordia-St. Paul was named the NSIC South Division Preseason Player of the Year, while Katrina Newman, a senior guard for Minnesota -Duluth was named NSIC North Division Preseason Player of the Year.

Mustangs senior guard Bree Holleman was named one of the NSIC’s “Player to Watch.”

Holleman has played in 72 games in her SMSU career with 46 starts while ranking eighth all-time in 3-point field goal made (112). She also ranks seventh all-time in 3-point field goals attempted (312) and she netted her 100th career 3-point field goal on Jan. 5, 2013, versus Upper Iowa.

Holleman missed SMSU’s last nine games of the 2012-13 season with an injury, but prior to that, she appeared in 20 games, making 20 starts. She finished the season making 34 3-point field goals and averaged 10.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.

The Mustangs begin exhibition play at home on Nov. 4 versus St. Catherine. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. SMSU begins NSIC play Nov. 30 at Sioux Falls.