FHSU Sports Information Department
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Coming off the best season in the program’s NCAA Division II history, Fort Hays State has been picked second in the MIAA Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll, released on Thursday (Oct. 22). Fort Hays State was the MIAA Regular Season Champion last year, finishing with a record of 30-4 overall and 18-1 in the MIAA.
Fort Hays State sits only behind Emporia State in the preseason poll. The Hornets were unanimously picked No. 1 with 13 votes. Fort Hays State received the one first place vote from ESU, since coaches cannot vote for their own team. Fort Hays State and Emporia State had four epic battles last year, both ranked inside the top 10 of the WBCA Poll in each meeting. FHSU won the two regular season meetings before ESU claimed victories in the two postseason meetings, the MIAA Tournament Final and NCAA Tournament Central Regional Final. Emporia State went on to the national semifinals and finished its year at 29-5 overall.
Sitting behind the Tigers in the poll are Central Missouri and Pittsburg State. The Jennies went 21-9 last year, while the Gorillas finished 27-7 overall. Pittsburg State was also a participant in the NCAA Tournament along with FHSU and ESU last year. The Gorillas fell in the regional semifinal to the Hornets.
The Tigers three of five starters from last year’s NCAA Tournament team, which includes Beth Bohuslavsky, Chelsea Mason, and Paige Lunsford. All three are seniors this year. However, the Tigers adjust to losing two of their best defensive players, first team All-American Kate Lehman and Keriann Shaw.
Bohuslavsky averaged 8.9 points and 3.8 assists per game last year and once again was one of the top ball security players in the nation, ranking sixth in assist/turnover ratio. Mason is the top returning scorer at 12.5 points per game, while Jill Faxon added 9.4 points and shot 41 percent beyond the 3-point line. Lunsford is the top returning rebounder, pulling down 4.1 per game last year. She added 4.9 points per game. Nikola Kacperska turned into a solid offensive threat for FHSU late in the year, finishing at 6.5 points per game, while Elle Stein added 3.1 points per game in the post.
2015-16 MIAA Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Emporia State (13) 169
2. Fort Hays State (1) 147
3. Central Missouri 135
4. Pittsburg State 128
5. Missouri Western 124
6. Washburn 103
7. Central Oklahoma 102
8. Missouri Southern 99
9. Lindenwood 58
10. Northeastern State 57
11. Lincoln 53
12. Nebraska-Kearney 38
13. Northwest Missouri 35
14. Southwest Baptist 26
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