LILBURN, Ga. - The Lewis & Clark women's basketball team has once again been recognized as one of the top programs in the nation, earning a preseason #19 ranking from the USA Today Sports Division III Top-25 Coaches Poll as announced by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association on Tuesday.
"We are excited to remain in the Top-20 heading into the 2013-14 season and to be known as a national contender," said head coach Juli Fulks. "Each year graduation brings on new challenges and our returners and incoming freshman are ready to start defending our Northwest Conference title and battle for a return trip to the NCAA tournament."
The Pioneers finished the 2012-13 season with a 25-4 overall record en route to their third consecutive NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament appearance. Lewis & Clark ended the year ranked #21 in the nation and were ranked as high as #5 at one point during the season. The team earned the programs first outright Northwest Conference Championship and second title in three season. The Pioneers were ranked 23rd in the nation in scoring offense, paced by the teams first All-American since transitioning to the NCAA in Kristina Williams.
The team had several individuals collect awards following the season, as well as Fulks who was named the RUSSELL ATHLETIC/WBCA NCAA Division III Regional Coach of the Year for Region 8.
Lewis & Clark is set to return 11 players from last year, including seniors Katie Anderson, Cassie Beucherie, Daron Dean, Kathlene Howe, Jessica Rodriguez and Tayler Wang who have been a part of all three of the programs NCAA tournament appearances. Wang was named to the NWC All-Conference honorable mention last season after being an all-around contributer to the Pioneers, ranking second on the team in points per game (11.7) and rebounds per game (7.6).