BRIDGEPORT -- Fairmont State has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2017 Mountain East Conference women's basketball championship in a vote conducted by the league's coaches.
The Falcons landed top the poll with 118 points and 10 first-place votes. FSU brings back all five starters from last year's team that went 20-11 and earned a trip to the semifinals in the MEC Tournament. Senior guard Makenzie White is back for her senior season after averaging 15.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists last season before missing the final 11 games due to injury. Senior Amanda Ruffner, a second team All-MEC honoree last year, averaged 15.3 points per game and will lead FSU in the paint.
Wheeling Jesuit was picked to finish second with 110 points and two first-place votes. The Cardinals return four starters from a team that went 27-6 last year and won the MEC Tournament. West Liberty, last year's MEC regular season champion, finished third in the poll with 96 points. The Hilltoppers lost several key contributors from last year's squad that went 29-5 and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16.
Charleston was fourth in the poll with 78 points and had the remaining first-place vote. The Golden Eagles will try to rebound after last year's 13-17 season with Abby Watson and Mya Walker. Glenville State, under the direction of first-year coach Kim Stephens, was picked to finish with 76 points.
Notre Dame and Shepherd finished in a tie for sixth with 62 points, followed by Urbana (59), West Virginia State (50), UVa-Wise (45), West Virginia Wesleyan (24) and Concord (12).
The poll was released on Tuesday at the Mountain East Conference Media Day at the Courtyard by Marriott in Bridgeport, W. Va.
The women's basketball season begins on Friday, Nov. 11.
|Mountain East Conference
Women's Basketball Preseason Poll
|1.||Fairmont State (9)||118|
|2.||Wheeling Jesuit (2)||110|
|9.||West Virginia State||50|
|11.||West Virginia Wesleyan||24|
|() denotes first-place votes|
2015-16 All-MEC Players Returning
Danie Shafer (UU) -- All-MEC First Team
Mari Stewart (WVWC) -- All-MEC First Team
Morgan Arden (SU) -- All-MEC Second Team
Brittany Jackson (GSC) -- All-MEC Second Team
Paris McLeod (GSC) -- All-MEC Second Team
Amanda Ruffner (FSU) -- All-MEC Second Team
Makenzie White (FSU) -- All-MEC Second Team
Maria Callen (WJU) -- All-MEC Honorable Mention
Liz Myers (SU) -- All-MEC Honorable Mention
Taylor Sandidge (UVa-Wise) -- All-MEC Honorable Mention