NATIONAL POLL: Experienced Bruins Ranked No. 3 in Pre-Season Poll by D3hoops
NEWBERG, Ore. – With 13 returning letter winners, including all five starters, two of them pre-season All-Americans, the George Fox University Bruins have been picked third in the nation in the 2011-12 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball poll as selected by a panel of 25 coaches, sports information directors, and media members for D3hoops.com.
The Bruins, who were 25-6 last year, received three votes for first place and 541 points in all. Defending national champion Amherst College (32-1) was first with 13 firsts and 593 points, followed closely by the University of Chicago (25-4) with seven firsts and 590 points. William Paterson College (26-4) got two firsts and 494 points to place fourth. Amherst has three starters back, while the other three all have five starters back and two players each on the D3hoops First, Second, Third or Fourth pre-season All-America teams.
The No. 3 ranking is the highest pre-season position ever for the Bruins. The 2009-10 team was ranked fourth before the season began by D3hoops and fifth by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association following a 32-0 record and the D-III national championship in 2008-09.
George Fox is coming off an outstanding 2010-11 season under first-year coach Michael Meek, who took over when 14-year mentor Scott Rueck left for his alma mater, Oregon State. The Bruins posted their 18th straight winning season, won their fifth straight Northwest Conference championship (shared with Lewis & Clark College at 14-2), captured the NWC Tournament, and reached the "Elite 8" round of the NCAA National Tournament for the third year in a row. George Fox was ranked sixth in the final USA Today / ESPN / WBCA national poll, and 12th in the final D3hoops.com poll.
This year's Bruins will build around 6-5 junior center Hannah Munger and 5-10 senior wing Keisha Gordon, who were named to the D3hoops pre-season All-America Second and Third Teams respectively. Both were All-NWC First Team selections, while Munger went on to be named a Third Team All-American and West Region Player of the Year, and Gordon was Second Team All-Region.
Also back in the starting lineup for the Bruins are honorable mention All-Conference senior wing Arianna Mohsenian, sophomore point guard Hayley Cusick, and sophomore forward Megan Arnoldy. Four seniors remain from the 2008-09 national title team, including Gordon, Mohsenian, center Breezy Rinehart-Young, and wing Carrie Myers.
The regular season opens for the Bruins on Nov. 15 at home against Corban University at 7:00 p.m.