The University of Scranton women's basketball team will open their 2017-18 season in a familiar spot - ranked nationally in both the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) NCAA Division III Coaches Poll and the D3Hoops.com Top 25 Rankings.
Both organizations released their 2017-18 preseason polls today, and the Lady Royals find themselves ranked 13th in the WBCA Top 25, and 19th in the D3Hoops.com poll. Scranton is the lone Landmark Conference team ranked in either poll, as Catholic and Moravian are receiving votes in the WBCA and D3Hoops.com polls, respectively.
The Lady Royals will enter the 2017-18 season guided by third-year head coach Trevor Woodruff as the two-time defending Landmark Conference Champions, as the squad advanced to the Sweet 16 last season before falling to eventual National Runners-Up Tufts.
Scranton (who went 26-4 last year) will look to replace their two leading scorers from a season ago in forwards Sarah Payonk and Alexix Roman. Payonk ended her career as one of the most decorated players both on and off the court for Scranton, earning WBCA All-American Honorable Mention honors two years in a row, among other honors. Roman, meanwhile, as a D3Hoops.com All-Region pick two years in a row, as well.
The Lady Royals' top returnee is junior guard Bridgette Mann (Canadensis, Pa./Wallenpaupack Area), who has started the last 61 games for Scranton at guard. A 2017 All-Landmark Conference Second Team selection, Mann averaged 13.6 points a game last year while dishing out 106 assists.
Meanwhile, Scranton's returns two seniors in guard Katie Broderick (New Fairfield, Conn./New Fairfield) and forward Katie Feehery (Media, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara), who will serve as team captains for 2017-18 season. Broderick, who played in all 30 games last year, was named the MVP of the Landmark Conference Championship Game at Catholic after scoring 14 points, while Feehery played in 23 games a season ago.
Elsewhere, junior guard Julia Gantz (Havertown, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) will be in the fold for Scranton after missing the entire 2016-17 season with an injury. In her freshman season at Bloomsburg, Gantz was the PSAC East Freshman of the Year after averaging 5.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in 27 games for the Huskies.
The Lady Royals will also add five newcomers to the roster for 2017-18, as well.
The University of Scranton women's basketball team opens their 2017-18 campaign on November 17th at King's as part of the Cross-County Challenge. To view the full 2017-18 schedule for the Lady Royals, click here.