The University of Saint Francis women's basketball team will start out its 40th season on Friday as the No. 4 team in the 2013-14 NAIA Division II Top 25 preseason ratings released on Tuesday.
USF, which finished 32-4 overall in 2012-13, opens the season with the Fort Wayne Ortho Lady Cougars Classic with a 5 p.m. game against Shawnee State on Friday at Hutzell Athletic Center. On Saturday, USF will play crosstown rival Indiana Tech at 3 p.m.
This is the 11th time in the last 15 seasons the Cougars are in the Preseason Top 25 Top 10 and the fifth time they are in the Top 5. USF is under the direction of head coach Gary Andrews, who is 259-132 in 12 seasons at USF. In 2012-13, the Cougars tied Indiana Wesleyan University for the Crossroads League championship with a 16-2 record, then USF won 54-48 at IWU in the CL Tournament Championship game.
Indiana Tech cross-country teams ranked in Top 25
Led by two top-10 finishes in the NAIA Great Lakes Challenge, hosted by Aquinas (Mich.) on Oct. 26 in Grand Rapids, Mich. the Indiana Tech men's and women's cross-country teams each rose in the most recent edition of the Cross Country Coaches' Top 25, with the women making the largest jump, moving 10 spots to No. 13 while the men improved four spots to No. 21.
The women's team is ranked inside the top-15 for the first time since being ranked No. 7 in the final poll of the 2009 season. Tech got 375 points in the poll and is the top ranked Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference team. Cornerstone (Mich.) is also ranked in the top-25, coming in at No. 21 with 236 points while Aquinas (Mich.) is also receiving votes, coming in with 106 points and 27th in the nation.
The Warriors moved up thanks to a fourth-place finish at the NAIA Great Lakes Challenge with a season-best time of 1:34:19 thanks to a trip of personal best times from Becca Lamb, Cherie Gaines and Brenna Conger.
The men's team is No. 21 with 203 points while Aquinas was the top WHAC school to be ranked, coming in seventh, falling four spots, with 494 points. The Orange and Black moved up four spots thanks to a sixth-place finish at the event, finishing in a season-best time of 2:10:32, led by a 10th-place finish by Aaron Belcher (Mooresville).
The Warriors will take their No. 13 and No. 21 rankings into the WHAC Championships on Saturday, Nov. 9 in Grand Rapids, Mich.
IPFW's Hyde up for national honors
It was announced that IPFW women's basketball player Amanda Hyde has been announced as one of 30 candidates for the 2013-14 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate basketball for exceling both on and off the court. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. The honor comes after Hyde was selected as the preseason Summit League Player of the Year and a first-team selection along with being named to the Preseason All-Mid Major First Team by CollegeSportsMadness.com. The math education major is coming off a season in which she became the first player in IPFW history to receive the Summit League's top award after scoring 18.6 points per game. The senior also dished out 3.1 assists and had 1.9 steals per contest. Hyde connected on 44.3 percent of her shots from the field and hit 86.9 percent of her free-throw attempts. She was also named the Division I-AAA ADA Scholar-Athlete of the Year and earned Capital One Academic All-America Second Team distinction. Hyde is one of just eight nominees, men's or women's, whom have been named a CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-American. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.