GREENWOOD, IN – Hanover College has been voted the favorite to capture the 2012-13 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference women’s basketball championship. The Panthers received four of the ten first-place votes in the HCAC Coaches Preseason Poll and collected 91 points in all. Defending champion Franklin College finished in a close second, claiming five first place votes and 89 total points.
Transylvania University placed third in the poll with 77 points and was followed by Manchester University which claimed 74 points and the final first place vote. Defiance College (58 pts), Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (44), Bluffton University (36), College of Mount St. Joseph (31), Anderson University (29), and Earlham College (21) rounded out the poll.
Hanover finished alongside Franklin in the HCAC standings a year ago, finishing the 2011-12 season with a record of 21-5, 16-2 HCAC and will look for a third straight title this winter. The Panthers lost to Franklin in the HCAC tournament championship 64-44 a year ago, ending their season.
Hanover returns a pair of All-HCAC selections to the court this winter. Senior center Courtney Prater (Anderson, Ind./Lapel) led the Panthers in scoring and rebounding a year ago, averaging 14.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game as a junior. Sophomore guard Alicia Hopkins (Columbus, Ind./East) also returns to the fold for Hanover after an All-HCAC season. Hopkins contributed 9.3 points per game and dished out a team-high 59 assists as a freshman.
|Team||Points (1st Place Votes)|
|1. Hanover||91 (4)|
|2. Franklin||89 (5)|
|4. Manchester||74 (1)
|8. Mount St. Joseph||31|
Franklin will look to repeat as HCAC champions this winter under the direction of first year head coach Jennifer Lodge. The Grizzlies earned the regular season and tournament titles last season, posting a 25-3 overall mark and a 16-2 record in league play. Franklin defeated Hanover in the HCAC tournament championship game, earning a bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The blue and gold fell in the opening round 61-58 to Wis.-Stevens Point. The Grizzlies will look to fill the void left by last year’s HCAC Player of the Year Sarah Condra . FC returns one All-HCAC player from a year ago as Jessica Prewett (Washington, Ind./H.S.) returns for her senior season. Prewett averaged 9.0 points and 5.0 rebounds as a junior.
The Transylvania women’s team finished fourth in the league standings last season, posting a 14-13 overall record and an 11-7 mark in league play. The Pioneers ended the season with a 67-45 loss to Franklin in the HCAC tournament semifinals. The Pioneers return HCAC Freshman of the Year Nicole Coffman (Liberty, Ky./Casey Co.) to the lineup this season. The freshman guard averaged 14.6 points per game to lead the Pioneers, while adding 4.1 rebounds per contest and 44 assists to her stat line.
The opening games on the schedule are slated for November 16 with the first conference game scheduled for December 1.
2012-13 Women’s Basketball Players to Watch
Anderson: Amy Wuestefeld (Sr., G, 5-4, Batesville, Ind./H.S.), Ashley Wuestefeld (Sr., G, 5-6, Batesville, Ind./H.S.)
Bluffton: Lauren Hutton (Sr., F, 5-10, New Riegel, Ohio/H.S.), Kylee Burkholder (Jr., F, 5-9, West Unity, Ohio/Hilltop), Mikayla Coburn (So., F, 5-10, McGuffey, Ohio/Upper Scioto Valley), Brenna Kurilec (So., G, 5-10, Mt. Gilead, Ohio/Gilead Christian), Rachel DeBord (So., G, 5-5, Lebanon, Ohio/H.S.)
Defiance: Kim Comden (Sr., C, 6-0, Defiance, Ohio/Ayersville), Erica King (Jr., G, 5-6, Pettisville, Ohio/H.S.), Hannah Harshman (Jr., F, 5-10, Ohio City, Ohio/Parkway)
Earlham: Charvonne Long (Sr., F, 5-7, Edwardsville, Ill./H.S.), Bria Sneed (Jr., G, 5-3, Indianapolis, Ind./University)
Franklin: Krista Schott (Jr., G, 5-10, Indianapolis, Ind./Perry Meridian), Jessica Prewett (Sr., C, 6-0, Washington, Ind./H.S.), Annie Tarkington (Sr., G, 5-5, Kokomo, Ind./Northwestern)
Hanover: Natalie Morse (Sr., G, 5-6, Mitchell, Ind./H.S.), Courtney Prater (Sr., C, 5-9, Anderson, Ind./Lapel), Alicia Hopkins (So., G, 5-7, Columbus, Ind./East), Katie Gahimer (Sr., F, 5-9, Greensburg, Ind./North Decatur)
Manchester: Erynn Meiklejohn (Jr., F, 5-11, Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia)
Mount St. Joseph: Alex Donald (Sr., G, 5-8, Litchfield, Me./Oak Hill), Rachel Blevins (So., F, 6-0, Middletown, Ohio/Madison), Mel Monahan (So., G, 5-6, Mason, Ohio/Fenwick), Brooke Mosler (So., F, 5-7, Maysville, Ky./St. Patrick’s)
Rose-Hulman: Heather Finnell (Jr., G, 5-6, Decatur, Tenn./Cleveland), Kelsey Ploof (Jr., F, 5-11, Noblesville, Ind./H.S.), Lauren Meadows (Jr., G, 5-7, Indianapolis, Ind./Brebeuf Jesuit), Sheree Williams (So., G, 5-6, Bluffton, S.C/H.S.), Grace Gibbs (So., F, 5-10, Parker, Colo./Ponderosa)
Transylvania: Nicole Coffman (So., G, 5-8, Liberty, Ky./Casey Co.), Madisen Webb (Jr., G, 5-10, Georgetown, Ky./Scott Co.), Alex McKenzie (So., F, 5-9, Georgetown, Ky./Scott Co.)