2017-18 Women’s Basketball Preview: NECC Preseason Poll Pegs Mountaineers to Finish Eighth

women's basketball preseason poll

ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The Southern Vermont College women's basketball team has been putting in four weeks of hard work to get ready for this Wednesday's 2017-18 regular season opener as the Mountaineers look to make it into the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) postseason tournament.

The league announced the results of its preseason poll on Monday with the Conference coaches selecting SVC to finish eighth in the standings this year.

Southern Vermont will be led by first-year head coach Christin Gowan who took the reins of the program in March.

"This group has worked exceptionally hard in preparation for this season," Gowan said. "Having a solid core of returners, plus adding a few new faces, has laid the groundwork for a successful year."

After making the NECC playoffs in both 2015 and 2016, SVC missed out on a tournament berth last year as the team went 1-24 with a 1-17 mark in league play. However, Southern Vermont graduated only two players in the spring and has five team members returning this season. Additionally, Gowan welcomes in six new Mountaineers to the team.

"I expect us to compete every night and be in position to win late in games," she added. "I am proud of the effort our group has put forth so far, and I'm excited to see what we accomplish this season."

SVC is in a great position to continue building for the future as the squad is comprised of four freshmen, four sophomores, three juniors, and no seniors. Among those returning is junior captain Kayla Emmi (Syracuse, N.Y.) and sophomore Taylor Mallett (Berwick, Maine).

Emmi brings a consistency to the team's leadership as a second-year captain and will look to have an increased role on the court; she has led by example over the past two campaigns—being named to the NECC All-sportsmanship Team in each of the last two seasons. Mallett was one of Southern Vermont's leading scorers in 2016-17 as she posted 7.6 points per game while averaging 33.9 minutes at the guard position; she also added 3.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest to her line.

Additional sophomore returners for the Mountaineers include Dani Biggers (Broadalbin, N.Y.), Sarah Poirier (Ferrisburgh, Vt.), and Brianna Soucy (Salem, Mass.). Four of Gowan's newcomers are freshmen while one—junior Maddy Main (Bennington, Vt.)—has already made a name for herself in the league as she earned a Women's Cross Country Rookie of the Week honor in the fall.

SVC will open the regular season at home for the first time since the 2010-11 campaign as the Mountaineers are set to host Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Wednesday for a 5 p.m. tip-off. Southern Vermont then plays a pair of non-conference games before heading to Brooklyn in late November for the Dr. Betty Shabazz Tournament hosted by Medgar Evers College; SVC will take on the hosting Cougars in the opening-round of the bracket-style event at 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 25.

Southern Vermont will host New England College on November 28 (6 p.m.) and then visits Mass. College of Liberal Arts on December 1 before jumping into the NECC schedule. SVC opens up league action at Newbury College on Saturday, December 2 and then plays three more Conference contests before the holiday break.

Following the New Year, Southern Vermont visits Mount Ida College on January 4 for the last of the team's non-conference tilts. SVC then hosts Dean College at 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 6 to start the bulk of the NECC schedule.

2017-18 NECC Women's Basketball Preseason Poll

1. Becker – 66 (5)
2. Dean – 64 (3)
3. Elms – 62 (1)
4. Newbury – 45
5. Mitchell- 42
6. Wheelock – 38
7. Lesley – 26
8. Southern Vermont – 23
9. Bay Path – 22

(Parentheses denote first-place votes)