Women's Basketball Picked 9th in Preseason Poll

By Sara Elcano, Assistant Athletics Communications Director

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University women's basketball team was picked to finish ninth in the Northwest Conference Preseason Poll, as voted on by the head coaches. The Bearcats finished 4-21 overall and 2-14 in the NWC last season.

George Fox University received five first place votes and 81 points. The Bruins were picked by the conference coaches as the early favorite to win the title.

GFU has won or shared four straight NWC titles. The Bruins return two First Team All-NWC players. George Fox is under the guidance of first year head coach Michael Meek. Meek replaces Scott Rueck, who was named head coach at Oregon State University during the offseason.

Lewis & Clark College and Whitman College each picked up two first place votes and were picked to finish second and third, respectively, in the poll. The Pioneers return two All-NWC players. Whitman will look to rebound from a 7-9 NWC record in 2009-10. The Missionaries return several key players who battled injuries last season.

The Loggers of the University of Puget Sound were picked to finish fourth. UPS must replace 2009-10 NWC Player of the Year Claire Ely, who graduated last spring. The Loggers have a new head coach in Loree Payne.

Whitworth University was picked to finish fifth and Pacific Lutheran University was picked to take sixth place. Whitworth lost all five of its starters to graduation.

Linfield College was seventh in the poll. The Wildcats also have a new head coach, Robin Potera-Haskins.

Pacific University finished eighth in the poll with 25 points. The Boxers lost an All-NWC guard but return All-NWC forward Julianne Erbe.

The Bearcats are ninth in the poll. The team will be led by senior guard Alex Zennan (Sammamish, WA/Eastlake HS), who was an Honorable Mention All-NWC selection last season after averaging 14.6 points per game. She scored in double digits in 21 games and posted a season-high 27 points on three different occasions.

Seniors Erin Barclay (G, Snohomish, WA/Bothell HS) and Shayna Glynn (F, Boise, ID/Walla Walla CC) will help lead a Willamette team that includes seven freshmen and two transfers. There are six players who return from the 2009-10 team.

Willamette will play an exhibition game at the University of Oregon on Wednesday, Nov. 3. The Bearcats and Ducks are set to tip off at 7 p.m. (PDT) in Eugene, Ore.

WU will play in Portland, Ore., against Concordia University in the regular season opener on Nov. 19, before returning to Salem for the Bearcats' home opener against Northwest Christian University on Nov. 20.

NWC Women's Basketball Poll (1st place votes in parentheses)
1. George Fox (5), 81 points, 28-3 overall, 16-0 NWC in 2009-10
2. Lewis & Clark (2), 71 points, 16-10 overall, 10-6 NWC
3. Whitman (2), 62 points, 12-13 overall, 7-9 NWC
4. Puget Sound, 54 points, 24-5 overall, 14-2 NWC
5. Whitworth, 44 points, 14-12 overall, 10-6 NWC
6. Pacific Lutheran, 38 points, 7-18 overall, 5-11 NWC
7. Linfield, 26 points, 6-19 overall, 4-12 NWC
8. Pacific, 25 points, 7-16 overall, 4-12 NWC
9. Willamette, 15 points, 4-21 overall, 2-14 NWC

Alex Zennan was an Honorable Mention All-NWC selection in 2009-10.

Alex Zennan was an Honorable Mention All-NWC selection in 2009-10.