Coaches pick Blues as favorite for 2017-18 crown

Coaches pick Blues as favorite for 2017-18 crown

Rk.

Team (1st)

Pts.

’16-17 Rec. (NWC)

1.

Whitman (7)

70

26-5 (12-4)

2.

George Fox (2)

59

21-6 (13-3)

3.

Puget Sound

48

26-3 (16-0)

4.

Whitworth

34

10-15 (6-10)

t5.

Lewis & Clark

33

16-10 (9-7)

t5.

Linfield

33

11-14 (5-11)

t5.

Willamette

33

12-13 (5-11)

8.

Pacific Lutheran

12

1-24 (0-16)

9.

Pacific (Ore.)

11

8-17 (6-10)

(Points awarded on an 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Coaches could not vote for their own teams.)

 

HILLSBORO, Ore. — After reaching the Elite Eight a season ago, the Whitman Blues were picked to finish atop the Northwest Conference standings in 2017-18, according to a preseason poll of the conference coaches.

The Blues received seven first place votes and 70 total points to be predicted to finish first in the conference. Whitman is led by Preseason Honorable Mention All-American, Casey Poe. Poe (Sr., Hilo, Hawaii), a First Team All-NWC selection last season, returns after averaging 11 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game and 4.0 assists per game.

George Fox picked up the remaining two first place votes and was picked second with 59 points. Among the Bruins’ returnees in 2017-18 is Kaitlin Jamieson (Sr., Forest Grove, Ore.). Last season, Jamieson earned First Team All-NWC honors on the back of 13.0 points per game, 6.7 rebounds per game and 3.1 blocks per game.

The reigning regular season champions, Puget Sound, was picked third after earning 48 points in the poll. The Loggers return a pair of Second Team All-NWC selections, including last year’s NWC Freshman of the Year in Jamie Lange (So., Lake Tapps, Wash.). Recently named the NWC Women’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Year, Lange averaged 13.9 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per game in 2016-17.

Whitworth was picked fourth with 34 points and returns its top scorer from a season ago in Grace Douglas (Sr. Lynnwood, Wash.). Douglas was an Honorable Mention All-NWC selection last season and averaged 12.9 points per game.

Three teams earned 33 points and were put in a preseason tie for fifth.

Lewis & Clark picked up 33 points and was among the three teams picked finish fifth by the conference coaches. The Pioneers will return Second Team All-NWC selection Miyah Leith (Jr., Chandler, Ariz.) after the guard averaged 10.1 points per game last season.

Linfield also received 33 points and was picked to finish fifth. Molly Danielson (So., Beaverton, Ore.) is the top returning scorer for the Wildcats, having averaged 9.6 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per game during her freshman campaign.

Willamette was the final team to receive 33 points and be picked to finish fifth. Kylie Towry (Sr., Medford, Ore.) is back in a Bearcats uniform after earning Honorable Mention All-NWC laurels last season. Towry averaged 11.8 points per game as a junior.

Pacific Lutheran was picked eighth with 12 points in the coaches’ poll after finishing ninth last season. Kristin Sturdivan (Jr., Buckley, Wash.) is the top returning scorer from the Lutes roster a season ago. Sturdivan averaged 7.6 points per game in 2016-17, while dishing out 1.2 assists and grabbing 3.6 rebounds per game.

Pacific (Ore.) was picked ninth with 11 points. The Boxers graduated the reigning NWC Player of the Year in Sarah Curl, and turn to top returning scorer Lauren Lykins (Sr., Hillsboro, Ore.) in the new season. Lykins averaged 3.3 points per game and 3.1 rebounds per game as a junior.

The Northwest Conference women’s basketball schedule gets underway on November 15 at 6 p.m. when Lewis & Clark hosts Oregon Tech, Whitman visits Eastern Oregon and Pacific travels to Warner Pacific.

Five teams get underway on November 17 with Pacific Lutheran tipping off against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Puget Sound, Willamette meets Trinity (Texas) at the Bruin Classic in Newberg, George Fox welcomes Southwestern (Texas), Whitworth playing host to Whittier and St. Martins traveling to Puget Sound. Linfield will open the season on November 18 at Lewis & Clark against Corban.

NWC match-ups begin on December 1, with four games set to tipoff at 6 p.m.