West Liberty Women 5th in MEC Coaches' Poll
BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – The West Liberty University women’s basketball team was ranked No. 5 on Monday when the Mountain East Conference coaches released their annual preseason poll.
With a youthful roster led by All-MEC veteran Audrey Tingle, a rare fifth-year starter, Coach Kyle Cooper’s Hilltoppers look to be on the rise in a league that produced multiple NCAA Tournament qualifiers a year ago along with an NCAA Division II Elite Eight entry.
“I’m excited about this year’s team,” Cooper said. “They have a serious bounce, they’re a fun group to work with and they come to practice every day wanting to get better. When you’re anchored by a player like Audrey Tingle, it makes life a little better. I don’t know how many coaches can say they have a point guard who has started for all five years. We can say that and I think that’s a pretty big deal.”
Defending national scoring champion Glenville State received 8 first-place votes and 117 points to nail down the No. 1 spot in the poll with Charleston – fresh off its first-ever trip to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight national championship tournament – right behind, collecting the four remaining first-place votes and 111 points.
West Liberty is part of a three-team logjam in hot pursuit of the front-runners as Notre Dame (95), Concord (86) and the Hilltoppers (82) round out the top five in the highly-competitive 12-team league.
West Virginia State was sixth with 72 points, just ahead of Fairmont State (70). Alderson Broaddus (48), Wheeling (42), Davis & Elkins (26), Frostburg State (23) and West Virginia Wesleyan (20) complete the list.
“Along with Audrey, we return some very key players with experience who have made a major jump in the preseason,” Cooper said. “When you combine that with a really talented recruiting class plus a 6-4 graduate transfer in Molly Bauer, we can’t wait to get after it this weekend.”
The West Liberty women tip off the 2021-22 season Saturday and Sunday in an Atlantic Region Crossover event hosted by Mercyhurst (Pa.). The Hilltoppers take on California (Pa.) Saturday night at 7:30 before closing things out on Sunday with a 5 p.m. game against Mercyhurst.
2021-22 MEC Preseason Poll
1. Glenville State (8) 117
2. Charleston (4) 111
3. Notre Dame 95
4. Concord 86
6. W.Va. State 72
7. Fairmont State 70
8. Alderson Broaddus 48
9. Wheeling 42
10. Davis & Elkins 26
11. Frostburg State 23
12. W.Va. Wesleyan 20