UCO Women Picked Sixth In MIAA Preseason Coaches’ Poll
The University of Central Oklahoma women’s basketball team will enter the 2016-2017 season ranked sixth in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) Conference according to the coaches’ poll, announced Thursday.
This will be head coach Guy Hardaker’s 11th season as head basketball coach for the Bronchos following a (19-11) season last year. He will return half of last season’s team.
Redshirt senior Hayley Bryan will attempt to return following a hip surgery last season when she had to redshirt. With her healthy, and on the active roster, she brings a much-needed addition to the team at the stretch-four position. Her athleticism could present roadblocks for opposing teams.
Senior Olivia Mason is also a stretch four that can, and has created problems for teams in the past. She’s the leading returning scorer for the Bronchos as well.
Marley Anderson is also a senior and has played in almost 90 games in her three seasons, giving this rather inexperienced Broncho team some leadership from the guard position. Ashley Stephens tops out the seniors for UCO, but she’s also planning to return from an injury-filled junior season.
That’s four seniors for the Bronchos, which gives them a pretty even balance of experience with fresh faces.
Coach Hardaker mentioned that he isn’t aiming to be one of the top-four teams in the conference this year. He stated that they must aim towards the top spot in the MIAA and that it’s a very reachable goal.
Just like the men’s team, the Bronchos will begin the season at home, hosting the MIAA/Great American Conference Crossover Nov. 11-13. They will play Northwestern Oklahoma State on Friday, Nov. 11 and Southeastern Oklahoma State on Sunday, Nov. 13.
2016-17 MIAA Preseason Coaches’ Poll
(First-place votes in parentheses)
1. Emporia State, (12) 168
2. Pittsburg State, (2) 156
3. Washburn, 132
4. Fort Hays State, 127
5. Missouri Western, 124
6. Central Oklahoma, 96
7. Nebraska-Kearney, 95
8. Central Missouri, 89
9. Missouri Southern, 83
10. Southwest Baptist, 75
11. Northeastern State, 43
12. Lindenwood, 40
13. Northwest Missouri, 31
14. Lincoln, 15