|2009-10 Women's Basketball Coaches Pre-Season Poll:|
|School||(1st)||Pts.||2008-09 All||2008-09 NWC|
|George Fox (Ore.)||(8)||88||32-0||16-0|
|Puget Sound (Wash.)||(1)||68||18-9||11-5|
|Lewis & Clark (Ore.)||38||11-14||5-11|
|Pacific Lutheran (Wash.)||31||14-11||8-8|
(First-place votes in parenthesis. Points awarded on 10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis).
Defending National Champ George Fox is Heavy Favorite
Spokane, Wash. - Defending NCAA Division III women's basketball champion George Fox University has been picked by Northwest Conference coaches as a heavy favorite to finish atop the conference standings again in 2009-10.
The Bruins, who rolled to perfect conference and overall records on the way to last season's national title, picked up eight first place votes and tallied 88 of 90 possible points in the poll. George Fox will have to overcome the graduation of 2009 NWC Player of the Year Kristen Shielee and the loss of First Team All-NWC guard Sage Indendi, but the Bruins return Second Team All-NWC guard Keisha Gordon among three starters.
The University of Puget Sound is second in the poll with the final first place vote and 68 points. The Loggers return First Team All-NWC guard Claire Ely.
Whitman College (61 points) is third in the poll. The Missionaries welcome back First Team All-NWC guard Hilary White.
Pacific University and Whitworth University are tied for fourth in the poll with 49 points each. The Boxers surprised many last season by making the NWC tournament and welcome back First Team All-NWC guard Rochelle Reeves. The Pirates will look to Second Team All-NWC forward Cassie Pilkinton to lead this winter.
Lewis & Clark College (38 points) is sixth in the poll. The Pioneers will rely on honorable mention All-NWC forward Margaret Dowling to lead the team back to the conference playoffs.
Pacific Lutheran University (31 points) is seventh. The Lutes will have to overcome the graduation of their top three scorers from last season, including Second Team All-NWC post Emily Voorhies.
Willamette University (17) and Linfield College (13) are eighth and ninth in the poll, respectively. Both will have to overcome significant losses - First Team All-NWC guard Molly Fillion for the Bearcats and longtime head coach Robyn Stewart for the Wildcats.
The Northwest Conference will use a conference tournament, comprised of the top four teams in the final regular season standings, to decide the automatic (Pool A) bid to the NCAA tournament.
The season officially gets underway on November 16th.