The University of Sioux Falls women’s basketball team is picked in the middle of the pack in the NSIC women’s basketball preseason poll.
The Cougars were slotted ninth overall and received 110 points in the poll. They were also projected to finish sixth in the NSIC South Division.
The Cougars return three starters and two more players who saw significant minutes from last year’s team than went 23-3 overall and ended the season on an eight-game winning streak.
Leading the way is junior forward Laura Johnson, who was tabbed as USF’s “NSIC Player to Watch.” Johnson started every game as a sophomore, averaging 10.6 points and finished second on the team with 267 total points. She pulled down 5.6 boards per contest and also a constant threat from behind the arc, nailing a team-high 50 3-pointers. Johnson had a career day in the D2 Vegas Showdown Championship game, where she lit up McKendree University with a career-high 29 points, including 7-9 from 3-point range, en route to Vegas Showdown MVP honors.
Joining Johnson is the starting senior guard tandem of Holli Aggen (8.4 ppg, team-high 2.9 assists) and Alyssa Rushton (9.4 ppg).
Augustana College was selected as the 2012-13 NSIC Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ favorite in the overall poll and in the NSIC South Division poll, receiving 225 points and all 15 first place votes. The Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs were picked second with 190 points and selected as the NSIC North Division preseason favorite. The defending NSIC Champions from Wayne State were third with 183 points; while Minnesota State (177) and University of Mary (171) rounded out the top-five.
The Cougars will kick off the regular season at home on Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. against Nebraska Wesleyan University and will begin their inaugural NSIC slate on the road at Southwest Minnesota State on Dec. 1 at 5 p.m.
Courtesy: Steph Pendrys, USF