University of Southern Indiana Women’s Basketball is ranked No. 19 in the Division II Bulletin Preseason Poll, which was released Monday morning.
The Screaming Eagles are one of two Great Lakes Valley Conference teams to earn a preseason Top 25 ranking by Division II Bulletin, with Drury University garnering the No. 5 spot in the Top 25. Lewis University is receiving consideration outside the Top 25.
USI is coming off its second straight GLVC East Division title after posting a 26-5 overall record and a 16-2 mark in league play a year ago. The Screaming Eagles advanced to the NCAA II Tournament for the 10th time in program history after advancing to the GLVC Tournament championship game.
The Eagles return two starters and nine players from last year’s squad, but must replace 56.5 percent of their scoring and 46.0 percent of their rebounding from last year’s team due to the graduations of Morgan Dahlstrom, Kaydie Grooms and Randa Harshbarger. Dahlstrom and Grooms were both first-team All-GLVC honorees a year ago, while Harshbarger was a third-team All-Conference selection.
Senior center Kacy Eschweiler (St. Charles, Missouri) also earned third-team All-GLVC recognition a year ago after averaging 8.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest. Senior guard Alex Davidson (Salem, Indiana) chipped in 8.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per outing in her first year as a starter last season.
The Eagles also are looking to a strong recruiting class that includes sophomore guard Kennedy Williams (Marshall, Illinois), freshman forward Ashlynn Brown (Perrysburg, Ohio) and freshman guard Samantha LaPlaca (Parma Heights, Ohio). Williams began her collegiate career at Bowling Green State University, where she averaged 3.1 points per game off the bench, while Brown was an All-State honoree after averaging 17.0 points and 8.2 rebounds per game as a senior at Perrysburg High School. LaPlaca averaged 23.0 points and 13.0 rebounds per contest at Normandy High School during her senior season in 2017-18.
USI begins the 2018-19 season November 9 when it travels to Midland, Michigan, to take on Midwest Region foe Northwood University.