KANSAS CITY – The Crossroads League placed four teams in the NAIA Women’s Basketball Preseason Top-25 Poll, with defending National Champion, Marian, opening at No. 1, followed by No. 9 Indiana Wesleyan, No. 11 Goshen and Taylor (receiving votes).
Top-ranked Marian went 32-6 on its way to the first NAIA National Championship in program history one year ago and returns eight players from that squad, highlighted by Preseason All-Crossroads League selections Jessica Almeida, Joana Soeiro and Jenna Sullivan. The top-ranked Knights will begin their title defense when they open on October 28 and 29 in Denver against No. 14 Concordia and Doane.
Indiana Wesleyan posted a 27-8 mark, won the Crossroads League Tournament Championship and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament Sweet 16 last season. The Wildcats return Crossroads League Preseason Player of the Year, Kelsey Key, as well as Preseason All-League selection Chelsea Winner. IWU will open its campaign on November 1 with a home date against RV Indiana East.
Goshen won 27 games and lost nine, while making history by advancing to the NAIA National Tournament Final Four for the first time in program history one year ago. The Leafs will be led by Preseason All-Crossroads League standouts Sophia Sears and Gabby Williams and are set to open the season on October 28 at Holy Cross.
Taylor went 16-15 last season and gained attention in the NAIA Top-25 Poll for the first time since midway through the 2012-2013 campaign with votes in the preseason poll. The Trojans return Preseason All-Crossroads League selections Kendall Bradbury and Cassidy Wyse and will open at home against Northwestern Ohio on October 29.
The NAIA Top-25 Poll is voted on by a panel of head coaches from around the nation. The first regular season women’s basketball Top-25 Poll will be announced on November 28.