The hoops season is about to start (official practices start on 11/1 in NESCAC), and here is my preseason ranking for the women's Nescac. Comments and critiques are encouraged.
1. Bates - Bates and Bowdoin are the two power houses again this year. Bates took a big loss in the graduation of All-American Olivia Zurek. I expect this to effect the team a little. I expected Laura Trenkle's graduating to effect Bowdoin a lot, and it really didn't, so I've learned and adjusted my reasoning in this regard. The conference home game between these two is at Bates this year, so I think this is the Bobcats' year to win the conference and play the NESCAC tournament at home.
2. Bowdoin - The only reason they won't be number 1 is because the conference game is at Bates. The top two NESCAC teams will, however, split there two games home and home. Bowdoin returns standouts Justine Pourevalis and Eileen Flaherty among others for another year. They will continue to impress.
3. Williams - The Return of leading scorers Colleen Hession and Maggie Miller will give Williams the best shot of anyone at cracking the into the top 2.
4. Wesleyan - A Consistently good team looks to improve on a slightly off year. Wesleyan made the NCAA tournament last year as a Pool C team one week after falling to Amherst in the first round of the NESCAC Tournament. There were those who felt that Wesleyan may not have been deserving of the pool C bid. Wesleyan looks to prove the naysayers wrong this year, and with Hannah Stubbs entering her senior year look for her to lead this hungry team to some big wins.
5. Tufts- This is one of my surprise picks, especially with the loss of Allison Love to graduation, but Valerie Krah and Jessica Powers have each had a year to mature. Tufts has had an extremely successful string of years of late and these two have been huge contributers to that. Look for Tufts to have a strong showing this year.
6. Amherst - This is a team of fighters. I admitt that I know nothing of their first-years, but this is the same for all the teams. As much fight as this Amherst team has in them (nearly upsetting Bates a few years ago at Bates in the first round of the Nescac tournament) I just don't see them quite at the level as the top 4. Look for some great games in the battle for 5th place with Tufts.
7. Middlebury - I know nothing about this team, but it seemed reasonable given last years perfomance, and what I know of the other teams.
8. Colby - They're losing Wendy Bonner to graduation, but they're picking up a new coach. They won't make the same mistakes as last year and will find their way into the Nescac tournament this year.
9. Trinity - I know nothing about this team, but it's been a few years since they've been largely successful in Nescac, and they don't show any signs of that changing yet. They key word here is yet. Be aware of this team, and be careful, they will be strong again some day, and they showed a few hints of it last year when they beat Tufts, played very close to Amherst, and took Bates right down to the final buzzer. This team is ready to break through, but I think there's a little bit too much talent ahead of them this year. *sleeper team* Trinity is going to my pick as sleeper team. They played within just a few points of a lot of good Nescac teams last year. They might be able to pull off some surprises. Be on the lookout.
10. Conn. College- I don't really know anything about this team, but they've been spending some time down here lately, and I haven't seen any evidence that they're ready to move up just yet.
This is my annotated preseason poll. (note: this is just my opinion, I'm not an expert, nor do I represent one.)
Red1 (formerly Red--it's a long story