BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — Glenville State was voted to win the 2023 Mountain East Conference title in women’s basketball after a vote conducted by the league’s 12 head coaches. The Pioneers received eight first-place votes and 118 points during preseason voting.
Under head coach Kim Stephens, Glenville State won the 2022 NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship with an 85-72 win over Western Washington in the title game in Birmingham, Alabama. The Pioneers ranked No. 1 in the country for several weeks a season ago and won their first 29 games of the season (finished the season with a 35-1 record). Glenville State will have to replace All-American standout Re’Shawna Stone and All-Region guard Zakiyah Winfield this season.
Charleston was second in the preseason voting with three first-place votes and 111 total points. UC was the only team to defeat Glenville State in 2021-22, as the Golden Eagles upset the Pioneers, 80-77, in the MEC Tournament Championship Game in March. Under third-year head coach Tianni Kelly, Charleston has won the last two MEC Tournament Titles and UC advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2021 and the Atlantic Region final in 2022. Charleston returns an experienced group of senior guards in 2022-23, including Dakota Reeves, Markyia McCormick and Trinity Palacio.
West Liberty received the final first-place vote and took third place in the preseason voting with 102 points. The Hilltoppers are coming off a 21-9 overall record in 2021-22 under sixth-year head coach Kyle Cooper. WLU will have to replace the production left behind by the graduation of All-American point guard Audrey Tingle, but returns four double-figure scorers this season. First team All-MEC guard Corinne Thomas and MEC Freshman of the Year Bailee Smith highlight the Hilltopper returners this winter.
Fairmont State was fourth in the preseason voting with 84 points. The Falcons are coming off a 15-13 season in 2021-22 and will have to replace senior guard Sierra Kotchman – the MEC’s all-time leading scorer following her graduation. Fairmont State returns its remaining four starters from a season ago, including first team All-MEC guard Alyssa DeAngelo and double-figure scorer Katy Darnell.
West Virginia State (81) finished just three points behind Fairmont State in the voting and occupies the fifth spot in the poll, followed by Concord (71) at No. 6. Notre Dame was voted seventh with 69 points, followed by Frostburg State (49), Wheeling (39), Alderson Broaddus (30), West Virginia Wesleyan (20) and Davis & Elkins (18).
The 2022-23 regular season gets underway on Friday, Nov. 11. The top 10 teams in the final regular season standings will advance to the MEC Tournament held at Wesbanco Arena in Wheeling, W.Va., from March 1-5.
2022-23 MEC Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll
1. Glenville State (8) – 118
2. Charleston (3) – 111
3. West Liberty (1) – 102
4. Fairmont State – 84
5. West Virginia State – 81
6. Concord – 71
7. Notre Dame – 69
8. Frostburg State – 49
9. Wheeling – 39
10. Alderson Broaddus – 30
11. West Va. Wesleyan – 20
12. Davis & Elkins – 18
( ) – first-place votes