Posted: Oct 23, 2012 6:49 PM
Updated: Oct 23, 2012 9:44 PM
KANSAS CITY -- The William Woods University women's basketball team picked up 73 points en route to a ranking of no. 23 in the 2012-13 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll, announced by the national office on Tuesday. The ranking matches the Owls' spot in the 2011-12 preseason balloting.
"To be honest, the ranking is a little surprising, but I'm happy with that," said head coach Dan Chapla. "Obviously we have an impact player in Priscilla Santos which helped us a lot, along with the reputation we've built over the past four years. Preseason rankings don't matter much, it's where you finish, but it's a nice feather in our cap. I'm proud of us and our program for getting there. We just have to show that it's accurate."
William Woods posted a 23-10 overall record last season, returning to the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament for the fourth straight season. The Owls finished second in the AMC in the regular season before capping a thrilling tournament run with a 72-67 win over Columbia College in the AMC Championship game.
Although the Owls lost five players to graduation last year, Ashlee Taylor (Dexter, Mo.) leads a solid class of returners. The senior guard averaged 9.7 pts/gm for WWU during the 2011-12 season, shooting .403 from the floor. Santos, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, joins the Owls from the College of Eastern Utah, where she led the NJCAA in scoring with a pace of 29.1 pts/gm.
The American Midwest Conference lands two schools in the top 25 and three schools among those receiving votes. In addition to WWU, regular season champion Columbia College enters the preseason with the no. 21 ranking and league newcomers Lyon College garnered 32 points.
William Woods opens the 2012-13 season on November 3, taking on NAIA newcomers Lindenwood University-Belleville at 7 p.m. The home opener for the Owls is set for November 7, with WWU hosting Missouri Valley College at 7 p.m.