BUFFALO, NY – The Mid-American Conference announced on Wednesday the 2017-18 Women's Basketball Coaches Preseason Poll and the University at Buffalo women's team was tabbed to finish first in the MAC East division. The Bulls were able to earn 69 points including 10 first place votes, marking the first time in program history the Bulls have been preseason MAC East favorites.
The 10 first place votes were the most earned by the Bulls in program history while they also garnered one vote to win the MAC regular season title and one vote to win the MAC Tournament title.
Senior point guard Stephanie Reid also was able to earn a spot on the preseason All-MAC east squad for the second straight season. The Melbourne, Australia native is coming off of a career year in 2016-17 in which she set the program record for assists in a season (233) while ranking seventh in the NCAA in assists/game (7.3). Reid was able to finish off her junior campaign averaging a career-high 11.5 points, 7.3 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 2.0 steals while helping the Bulls advance to the MAC semifinals for the second straight season.
Buffalo is coming off of a 22-win season and have now collected at least 17 victories each of the last four seasons, marking the first time the Bulls have done so since joining the MAC in 1998-99. The Bulls have also notched back-to-back 20 win seasons for the second time in program history.
UB will return four of their five starters from a season ago as they lost senior shooting guard JoAnna Smith to graduation. Smith will be missed as she was the Bulls leading scorer a season ago (17.2 PPG) while also signing a professional contract in Portugal following her record-setting UB career.
Head coach Felisha Legette-Jack will return 11 letter winners from a 22-win team as the Bulls are returning the second most experienced squad when it comes to minutes played. Buffalo will rely heavily on their five seniors, Reid, Cassie Oursler, Katherine Ups, Liisa Ups and Mariah Suchan as well as UMass transfer Cierra Dillard who sat out last season due to transfer rules. She will also welcome three newcomers to the fold this season as JUCO transfer Autumn Jones joins the freshman duo of Marissa Hamilton and Hanna Hall.
The Bulls will open up their 2017-18 campaign on Friday, Nov. 3 as they welcome the Bloomsburg Huskies to Alumni Arena for an exhibition game at 5:30 pm. Buffalo was able to hand Bloomsburg the 65-45 defeat last season at Alumni Arena in the exhibition opener.
East Predicted Order of Finish (First place votes)
1. Buffalo (10) – 69 points
2. Kent State (1) - 52 points
3. Ohio (1) – 47 points
4. Miami – 40 points
5. Bowling Green – 23 points
6. Akron – 21 points
West Predicted Order of Finish (First place votes)
1. Central Michigan (10) – 70 points
2. Toledo (1) – 60 points
3. Ball State (1) – 46 points
4. Western Michigan – 32 points
5. Northern Illinois – 29 points
6. Eastern Michigan – 15 points
2018 MAC Regular Season Predicted Champion: Central Michigan (10), Ball State (1), Buffalo (1)
2018 MAC Tournament Predicted Champion: Central Michigan (9), Ball State (1), Buffalo (1), Western Michigan (1)
Preseason All-MAC East Division Team
Carly Santoro, Bowling Green
Stephanie Reid, Buffalo
Jordan Korinek, Kent State
Lauren Dickerson, Miami
Taylor Agler, Ohio
Preseason All-MAC West Division, Team
Moriah Monaco, Ball State
Presley Hudson, Central Michigan
Tinara Moore, Central Michigan
Mikaela Boyd, Toledo
Breanna Mobley, Western Michigan