AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – The Ohio Athletic Conference released the 2016-17 women's basketball Coaches' Poll on Wednesday. Capital Women's Basketball has been predicted to finish fifth in the OAC by season's end.
The Crusaders were voted to finish fifth out of the 10 voting teams after receiving 44 points in this year's poll. Last season's regular season champion, Ohio Northern University ranked first in the poll with 79 points. Baldwin Wallace University ranked second after upsetting first-seeded Ohio Northern in last year's OAC tournament. Wilmington College (57) and John Carroll University (45) rounded out the top-four. The reigning tournament champion from a year ago, The University of Mount Union found itself tied in the seventh spot with just 38 points.
In 2015-16, The Purple and White put together a stellar season, compiling an overall record of 20-7 while finishing 12-6 in the OAC. Capital climbed as high as No. 17 in the Division III Top-25 Polls after making statements by defeating No. 11 Calvin in an overtime thriller and conference opponent No. 11 Ohio Northern later in the season. Capital entered postseason play as the OAC's third seed. Capital bested Wilmington in its quarterfinal matchup, 71-64 before having its season ended at Mount Union, falling 81-72.
The Crusaders lost its starting five to graduation last Spring as they enter this season with a young roster that features just one senior in Colleen Fondessy (Fostoria, Ohio), who finished the year sixth on the team with six points per game. Though Capital's roster is young, it is not without experienced players. Annika Wachtman (Upper Arlington, Ohio), Chelsea Pla (Macedonia, Ohio), and Erin Risner (Canfield, Ohio) all plan on having expanded roles after earning extended playing time last season.
Last year, Capital averaged 65.3 points per game, 38 rebounds per game, while shooting 41 percent from the field.
Women's Basketball tips off the 2016-17 season on Tuesday, November 15 at Wittenberg University. The Crusaders defeated the Tigers 70-50 in their meeting last season. The game is set for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.
OAC Coach's Poll
1-Ohio Northern 79 (7)
2-Baldwin Wallace 74 (3)
4-John Carroll 45
7-Mount Union 38