KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Fort Hays State was tabbed second in the MIAA women's basketball preseason coaches and media polls, slated behind reigning national champion Central Missouri.
UCM received 169 points in the coaches poll and 291 points from the media. FHSU trailed the Jennies by 15 in the coaches poll and 26 in media balloting.
The Jennies garnered all of the possible 13 first-place votes in the coaches poll and had 20 top votes in the media poll. The Tigers had one first-place vote in each poll.
Central Missouri defeated Fort Hays 66-59 in the regional semifinals last year on their way to the title.
FHSU returns four All-MIAA selections and 11 letter winners off last year’s 26-7 team. Tatyana Legette was a second-team pick while Carly Heim, Kacey Kennett and Lanie Page were honorable mention selections.
“The preseason rankings, I think you basically base it off of how you finished last year — maybe how you were playing toward the end of the year and what you have coming back,” FHSU women’s coach Tony Hobson said Tuesday during MIAA Media Day at the College Basketball Experience in Kansas City, Mo. “We were picked up there pretty high this year just because we have a lot of returners and we finished the season fairly strong. That’s about all you can base it on.”
In the coaches poll, Emporia State was tabbed third, Washburn was fourth and Central Oklahoma rounded out the top five. WU and ESU were flip-flopped in the media poll with Pittsburg State tabbed fifth.
Tiger men tabbed sixth, seventh
The Fort Hays State men were picked in the middle of the pack in the coaches and media polls, slated sixth by the media and seventh by the coaches.
The Tigers finished seventh in the MIAA last year at 10-9 and went 19-12 overall. FHSU will have six seniors this year, including returning starters Brady Werth, Kyler Kinnamon, Trey O’Neil and Marcus Cooper.
“If you really look at where we finished last year and everything, that’s probably where I would have picked us,” Fort Hays men’s coach Mark Johnson said. “For us, I think’s that the lowest we’ve ever been picked. Preseason polls are pretty meaningless. For us, it doesn’t matter where we’re picked, we got to go out every day and do what we’ve got to do and outwork our opponents and try to get better.”
The men’s polls were tight at the top, with Missouri Southern edging five-time defending MIAA champion Northwest Missouri by two points for the top spot in the coaches poll. Northwest had seven first-place votes by the coaches, one more than Southern.
Northwest topped Missouri Southern by one point in the media poll. However, the Lions garnered 10 first-place votes to Northwest’s sixth. Washburn was third and Central Missouri fourth in both polls. Central Oklahoma was fifth in the coaches poll while Pittsburg State took the fifth spot in the media poll.