COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's basketball team was selected to place eighth among eight teams in the Northeast Division in the Northeast-10 Conference's preseason poll, which was released by the league office on Thursday and chosen by the member institutions' head coaches.
With 21 points, the Purple Knights were five short of seventh-place Franklin Pierce University. Bentley University, which is first in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) preseason national poll, garnered 105 points to top the Northeast Division in the NE-10 rankings.
The NE-10 begins its fourth season with its 15 teams split between two divisions, with eight competing in the Northeast Division and seven in the Southwest Division. All teams will play either 20 or 21 conference games, depending upon division, and the top five squads from each division will qualify for the 10-team NE-10 Championship.
The Purple Knights went 9-17 overall and 5-16 in the NE-10 last season, downing a pair of teams tied for second in the preseason poll a combined three times. Saint Michael's swept Stonehill College in a two-game series for the first time in 25 seasons while also downing Saint Anselm College on Feb. 13. The Purple and Gold knocked off Southern New Hampshire University, which was picked fifth, on Jan. 2.
Junior Leah Spencer (Brockton, Mass./Archbishop Williams) and senior Indira Evora (Somerville, Mass./Somerville), the team's second- and third-leading scorers last season, respectively, are back. Spencer turned in 12.4 points with 4.5 rebounds on 45.0 percent shooting from her guard position, and fellow guard Evora averaged 10.1 points and 1.7 steals. She knocked down 39 three-pointers, shooting 37.1 percent from beyond the arc and 78.3 percent on free throws. Sophomore Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) posted 7.4 points and 6.3 rebounds, while her 34 blocks were the second most ever by a Purple Knight first-year.
Under fourth-year head coach Shannon Kynoch, the Purple Knights are in Florida for Rollins (Fla.) College's season-opening Rollins Tip-Off Classic. Saint Michael's opposes the host in its opener tomorrow at 2 p.m. before taking on Florida Institute of Technology on Saturday at 4 p.m.