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MSSU women picked #1 in MIAA basketball preseason coaches poll

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Southern women’s basketball team has been picked #1 in the MIAA preseason coaches poll released on Tuesday morning.

The Lions received 6 first-place votes in the poll. It’s the first time in program history they’ve been picked #1 in the preseason coaches poll.

Missouri Southern finished last season as the MIAA regular season co-champions, and return 10 players from last year’s team – including the MIAA Player of the Year in Lacy Stokes. Head coach Ronnie Ressel was also the MIAA Coach of the Year last season.

  1. Missouri Southern
  2. Fort Hays State
  3. Nebraska-Kearney
  4. Missouri Western
  5. Central Missouri
  6. Emporia State
  7. Northwest Missouri
  8. Pittsburg State
  9. Central Oklahoma
  10. Washburn
  11. Rogers State
  12. Northeastern State
  13. Newman
  14. Lincoln

RELEASE FROM MISSOURI SOUTHERN ATHLETICS:

The Missouri Southern women’s basketball program has been picked to win the league in both the coaches and media polls as announced by the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletic Association today at the 2022 Basketball Media Day inside the College Basketball Experience this morning.

The Lions finished 24-7, 19-3 MIAA last season to claim a share of the regular season title with Fort Hays State before meeting the Tigers in the MIAA Tournament Championship Game and made the fourth appearance in program history to the NCAA Tournament, the first appearance since the 1995-96 season. This is the first time in program history that the Lions have been selected first in the MIAA Preseason Polls after previously being picked as high as second in the 1994-95 season.

Southern brings back a core of 10 players from last year with six drawing starts. All-American Lacy Stokes was crowned the Freshman and Player of the Year along with being on the All-Defensive team by the MIAA last season becoming the first women’s basketball student-athlete in the conference’s history to accomplish the feat after averaging 19.7 points, 5.7 rebound, 5.6 assists and 3.3 steals a game. Lacy set 18 program records for a freshman and became the first Lion ever to average at least 15.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists a game for a season last year.

The forward duo of Madi Stokes and Amaya Johns were All-MIAA third team selections last season with Johns emerging as one of the premier bench scorers in the MIAA. Johns, average 10.9 points and 4.7 rebounds a game while going 29-of-87 from three for 33.3 percent and shot 40.1 percent from the field. Madi Stokes became the career blocks leader at Southern last year and now has 131 blocks along with owning the freshman and sophomore single-season block records. Last year Madi averaged 10.0 points to go with a team leading 7.4 rebounds a game while shooting 48.3 percent from the field and recorded 48 blocks to rank second in the MIAA and earned her All-Defensive honors for the second year in a row.

At the wings Layne Skiles and Kaitlin Hunnicutt are both capable of shooting, driving, or dishing off assists. Skiles averaged 8.7 points and 5.0 rebounds a game while recording 41 assists, 19 blocks and 29 steals along with being the top marksmen on the team going 46-of-122 for 37.7 percent from three and was 88.7 percent from free throws. Hunnicutt averaged 6.0 points and 2.5 rebounds a game while recording 44 assists, 5 blocks and 30 steals along with going 37-of-104 from three for 35.6 percent.

The bench last season was rounded out by Hailey GrantCameron CallMia Topping and Maleigha Landers. Grant led the bench with 4.5 rebounds a game while adding 4.2 points and was a defensive force with 21 blocks and 13 steals. Call was the shooter and top guard defender from the bench connecting on 26 three’s last year while also coming away with 11 steals. Topping and Landers both were true freshman last year that saw valuable minutes and should figure to be part of the rotation once again this year.

Southern was picked first in both the coaches and media polls this season while gaining the most first-place votes in each as well. Fort Hays State was selected second in each polls after owning a share of the regular season title before winning the MIAA Tournament and making it to the Regional Final last year.

The polls split from there as Nebraska – Kearney was picked third in the coaches poll but was fourth by the media, Missouri Western was fourth in the coaches poll but fifth in the media. Central Missouri was picked to finish fifth in the coaches poll but was third in the media poll and narrowly topped Nebraska – Kearney.

At six and seven were Emporia State and Northwest Missouri with the coaches ranking the Lady Hornets higher than the Bearcats while Pittsburg State, Central Oklahoma, Washburn, Rogers State and Northeastern State were in order from eight to twelve and at the bottom Newman and Lincoln were flipped in order from the coaches and media poll.

The Lions will have an exhibition at Wichita State on November 1st and will begin the season at the D2CCA Tip-Off Classic in Kansas City on November 5th & 6th.

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