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Carroll College women 20th in NAIA basketball preseason coaches' poll

Providence, Rocky receiving votes
Sayers, Carroll College excited for new NAIA national basketball tournament format
Posted at 10:34 AM, Oct 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-14 17:11:16-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Carroll College women's basketball team enters the 2020-21 NAIA season ranked No. 20 in the country, according to the preseason coaches' poll, which was released on Wednesday.

Coach Rachelle Sayers and the Fighting Saints were selected as the Frontier Conference preseason favorites earlier this week, one season after winning the league's regular-season title. Carroll was the lone Frontier Conference program selected in the top 25. The Saints finished last season ranked No. 17, though the women's national tournament, which was to be played in Billings, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This season marks the first year the NAIA will merge its two divisions, Division I and Division II, adding an intriguing twist to the national standings and, ultimately, the postseason. Former Frontier Conference member Lewis-Clark State College, now belonging to the Cascade Collegiate Conference, leads the receiving votes category. The University of Providence and Rocky Mountain College also collected votes in the preseason poll.

Providence post Parker Esary was selected as the Frontier Conference's preseason player of the year and looks to lead the Argos back to the national tournament. Providence won the conference tournament last year and was one of five Frontier programs set to compete in the national tournament -- Carroll, Lewis-Clark State, Montana Western, Providence and Rocky.

Westmont (Calif.) enters the year ranked No. 1 in the nation. The program ended last season in the top spot of the Division I poll.

The complete NAIA women's basketball preseason coaches' poll can be found below.

2020-21 NAIA women's basketball
Preseason coaches' poll

RANKLAST YEARSCHOOL [FIRST PLACE VOTES]2019-20 RECORDPOINTS
11 (I)Westmont (Calif.) [17]27-3586
22 (I)Wayland Baptist (Texas) [4]31-2563
32 (II)Marian (Ind.)31-3545
44 (I)Campbellsville (Ky.)29-3534
55 (I)The Master's (Calif.)29-3529
63 (I)Oklahoma City30-2486
73 (II)Southeastern (Fla.)27-3464
812 (II)Dordt (Iowa)24-8438
98 (I)Shawnee State (Ohio)29-4437
109 (I)Vanguard (Calif.)23-6416
111 (II)Concordia (Neb.)32-2413
125 (II)College of the Ozarks (Mo.)29-4343
1320 (I)Clarke (Iowa)25-7327
146 (I)Bethel (Tenn.)29-4302
1421 (I)Thomas More (Ky.)22-10302
168 (II)St. Francis (Ill.)29-5276
176 (I)Central Methodist (Mo.)31-2274
1811 (I)Lyon (Ark.)29-3268
1910 (I)Talladega (Ala.)28-5247
2017 (I)Carroll (Mont.)21-10198
2115 (I)Columbia (Mo.)25-7179
226 (II)Indiana Tech30-4155
239 (II)Saint Xavier (Ill.)29-5154
2410 (II)Morningside (Iowa)23-10146
2513 (I)Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)26-6144

Receiving Votes: Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) 122, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 102, Indiana Wesleyan 98, Bryan (Tenn.) 73, Loyola (La.) 71, Providence (Mont.) 50, WVU Tech (W.Va.) 42, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 27, Sterling (Kan.) 25, Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) 12, Rocky Mountain (Mont.) 6, Union (Ky.) 4, Antelope Valley (Calif.) 3, Rust (Miss.) 3, Bushnell (Ore.) 3