The Golden Eagles earned 51 points in the preseason poll, seven points behind Southwest Minnesota State University in 12th and eight points ahead of Bemidji State University in 14th.

BURNSVILLE, Minn. – The University of Minnesota Crookston women’s basketball team was tabbed 13th in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Preseason Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Poll released on the morning of Wed., Oct. 25.   

    The Golden Eagles earned 51 points in the preseason poll, seven points behind Southwest Minnesota State University in 12th and eight points ahead of Bemidji State University in 14th. Minnesota Crookston was selected seventh in the NSIC North.   

    The Minnesota Crookston women's basketball team will look to build on their tradition of success recently as they have made three-consecutive NSIC/Sanford Health quarterfinals at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.   

    The Golden Eagles return a veteran squad that returns four starters from last season. Minnesota Crookston will look to their upperclassmen to lead the way in the form of returning starters Micaela Noga and Caitlin Michaelis at guard, and Emily Gruber and Isieoma Odor in the post. Odor leads all returnees after averaging 13.3 points per game, while Michela Noga notched 10.1 points per game and shot 34.8 percent from beyond the arc. Gruber and Michaelis were also impact players averaging 8.2 points and 5.1 points respectively. Noga was selected as the NSIC Player to Watch for Minnesota Crookston.   

    Off the bench, the Golden Eagles return sometimes starter Stephanie McWilliams at guard, while Paige Weakley, Lindsey Weber and Amber Schoenicke all saw time last year and will compete for playing time during the 2017-18 season. In addition, Minnesota Crookston added newcomers Kasey Harper, Ashley Freund, Abby Guidinger and Maria Delgado to the fray. All four players are competing to see time on the floor this season.   

    Minnesota Crookston enters their 12th season under Mike Roysland, who moved past 100 wins in his college coaching career last season. Roysland led the Golden Eagles to a program-record 18 wins during the 2015-16 season. Minnesota Crookston hosted home playoff games during that season and the 2014-15 campaign.   

    Minnesota State University Moorhead was picked to win the league with 10 first-place votes and 213 points. The Dragons were NSIC North champions last season and made it to the first round of the NCAA Central Regional. The Dragons were slotted ahead of Northern State University, who earned four first-place votes and 209 overall points. Augustana University was picked third with two first-place votes and 200 overall points. MSU Moorhead was selected as NSIC North favorite, two points ahead of Northern State. Augustana was picked as the NSIC South favorite, three points ahead of Wayne State.   

    Drew Sannes of MSU Moorhead was selected as the NSIC North Preseason Player of the Year after being named 2016-17 NSIC Player of the Year. Wayne State College’s Paige Ballinger was named NSIC South Preseason Player of the Year after earning All-NSIC First Team honors last season.   

    Minnesota Crookston opens exhibition play Nov. 2 against Concordia College Moorhead at Lysaker Gymnasium. They will open the regular-season Nov. 17 versus Michigan Tech University at 6 p.m. at Lysaker Gymnasium.