Husson Tabbed Favorite in 2017-18 NAC Women's Basketball Preseason Poll

Husson Tabbed Favorite in 2017-18 NAC Women's Basketball Preseason Poll

Head Coach Kissy Walker previews the 2017-18 season for the Eagles.

WATERVILLE, Maine - Husson has claimed the top spot in the 2017-18 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Women's Basketball Preseason Poll. The defending champions earned six of the ten first place votes for a total of 92 points, while Castleton was selected second after earning three first place votes for a total of 86 points and Colby-Sawyer earned third with 83 points after claiming the remaining first place vote.

New England College took fourth with 71 points, while Maine Maritime placed fifth with 66 points and Lyndon was selected sixth with 45 points. Rounding out the poll were Thomas in seventh (37 points), UMaine-Farmington in eighth (29 points), Johnson in ninth (28 points), and Green Mountain in 10th (13 points).

Voting for the preseason poll was conducted among the league's head women's basketball coaches.

2017-18 NAC Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll



Points (1st Place Votes)



92 (6)



86 (3)



83 (1)


New England College



Maine Maritime















Green Mountain


 The top four teams in the 2017-18 preseason poll competed as the top four seeds in the NAC Tournament last season. Husson claimed the No. 1 seed, while Castleton was No. 2, New England College was No. 3 and Colby-Sawyer was the No. 4 seed in the 2017 conference tournament. The four teams faced off in the NAC Semifinals, while NEC claimed a 52-48 upset win over Castleton and Husson defeated Colby-Sawyer, 87-49. In the championship final, the Eagles came away with a 58-55 win over the Pilgrims.

After claiming their second-consecutive NAC title, Husson went on to compete in the NCAA Tournament. In the first round of the national tournament, the Eagles captured their first national tournament victory with a 74-72 win over DeSales. Unfortunately, Husson then fell to eventual national runner-up Tufts, 64-44, in the second round.

All ten NAC women's basketball teams will kick off their quest for the 2017-18 conference title this week. The top six teams in the regular-season conference standings will qualify for the conference tournament, which gets underway Tuesday, February 20, with quarterfinal action between seeds 3-6. The top two seeds will earn a bye in the first round and will take on the two quarterfinal winners in the semifinals on Friday, February 23. The two semifinal victors will battle for the NAC championship on Saturday, February 24.

Click HERE to view the 2017-18 NAC Women's Basketball composite schedule.

2017-18 NAC Women's Basketball Previews

**For more information on each team, click the school name to be directed to the women's basketball section of each school's website.



1. Husson (23-5, 16-2 NAC), which earned the program's first-ever NCAA DIII Tournament win a season ago, will be led by Kissy Walker, who enters her 14th-straight season and 27th overall at the helm for the Eagles. The veteran and her squad will look to capture their third-consecutive NAC Title with the return of Kenzie Worcester (Washburn, Maine; pictured right), Anna MacKenzie (Plymouth, Maine), Sami Ireland (Howland, Maine), and Sarah Bragg (Glenburn, Maine). Newcomers looking to make an early impact on the season include center Megan Peach (Garland, Maine), guards Emma Alley (Millinocket, Maine) and Jordan Butler (Hampden, Maine). The Eagles will take on St. Lawrence at Williams on Saturday, November 18, then Williams on Sunday, November 19. Husson will open the portion of their home schedule on Tuesday, November 28 with conference foe Thomas. 




2. Castleton (17-9, 15-3 NAC) welcomes nine players back who saw action during the 2016-17 season, as well as five newcomers and Emilee Bose (Enosburg, Vt.), who missed the entire year due to injury. Veteran head coach Tim Barrett will once again emphasize tough defense after the Spartans finished fifth in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 47.3 points per game last season. First Team All-NAC selection Amanda Beatty (Williston, Vt.; pictured right) led Castleton with 13.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game a season ago, while Makayla Farrara (Shaftsbury, Vt.), a Second Team All-NAC honoree last year, will be looked to provide more consistency this season. Castleton opens the season against Elms College at home Wednesday, November 15. 





3. Colby-Sawyer (18-9, 12-6 NAC) will look to make a seventh-straight trip to the NAC Tournament in 2017-18. George Martin is set to begin his 24th season as the leader of the Chargers. Colby-Sawyer returns three of its top-five scorers from a season ago led by sophomore Lexie Hamilton (Sunapee, N.H.; pictured right). Hamilton, an All-NAC Second Team honoree last season, averaged 10.2 points per game and led the team and conference in assists with 158. Martin also added some depth to the roster with the addition of five newcomers. Colby-Sawyer will begin the season at the Cave Classic hosted by Bridgewater State. The team will play eight games before the New Year with just two of them coming at home. Highlighting the early action for the team will be a trip to UNH on November 29 to play the Division I Wildcats. 



4. New England College (21-7, 13-5) is poised to make another deep run into the NAC tournament under the guidance of head coach Erica Ledy who enters her 16th season. The Pilgrims will have a younger squad this season, as the team has just one senior and one junior on its roster. NEC returns seven players from last season's NAC runner-up team, including the 2016 NAC Rookie of the Year, Rene Hudson (Gallatin, Tenn.; pictured right). A bulk of Ledy's returners are fellow sophomores, including Haleigh Martin (Bergenfield, N.J.), Hannah Nelson (Weare, N.H.), Daleia Boutwell (Dorchester, Mass.) and Kourtney Elmore (Concord, N.C.), all who saw minutes a season ago. In addition, the Pilgrims welcome 10 newcomers, including sophomore transfer Jada Black (Concord, N.C.), who comes to NEC from Division II Converse College. The Pilgrims open the 2017 campaign in New Jersey at the Stockton University Tip-Off Tournament, taking on Delaware Valley University at 8:00 p.m. on November 18. NEC opens conference play on December 2 at Castleton. 




5. Maine Maritime (14-12, 10-8 NAC) will be led by veteran head coach Craig Dagan, who returns for his 17th season. The Mariners return their top-five leading scorers from last season including 2017 First Team All-Conference selection and 2016 NAC Rookie of the Year Alayne Felix (Mahopac, N.Y.; pictured right). Felix returns for her junior season after leading the Mariners and the NAC in points per game (17.1) and field goal percentage (52.8) last season. The Mariners are looking to return to the NAC Tournament for the 21st-consecutive season and will open up the 2017-18 season on Wednesday, November 15, when they host Saint Joseph's College of Maine at 5:30 pm. 




6. Lyndon (11-13, 8-10 NAC) enters its second season under head coach Sean Lynch. Senior First Team All-NAC selection Mikayla Hodge (Newbury, Vt.; pictured right), who averaged 16.5 ppg and 12.8 rpg) a season ago, and senior Gabrielle Foy (Wilton, Maine), who averaged 14.3 ppg, return to lead the Hornets. Promising newcomers include freshmen Megan Johnson (Concord, N.H.), Alisha Celly (Cabot, Vt.), and Faith Poirier (Portsmouth, N.H.). Lyndon looks to rely on its combination of youth and experience to compete in the NAC and into the post-season. The Hornets will open their season against defending NCAA Division III National Champion Amherst on November 18 in the Amherst Tip-Off Classic Invitational.





7. Thomas (7-18, 4-14 NAC)
 enters the 2017-18 season with fourth-year head coach Emily Cummins at the helm. The team will look to their five seniors for leadership including Jordan Turner (Casco, Maine), Abby Nielsen (North Yarmouth, Maine), Sammie Griffin (Union, Maine), Amira Jones (Chicopee, Mass.), and Jordan Agger (Saco, Maine). Along with the seniors, Thomas also returns junior Molly Carroll (Southwest Harbor, Maine) and sophomores Karli Stubbs(Auburn, Maine; pictured right) and Malorie Weaver (Palermo, Maine). The Terriers open the new season on Wednesday, November 15, as they travel to Wheaton (Mass.). 



8. UMaine-Farmington (4-20, 4-14 NAC)
 will be under the direction of Jamie Beaudoin, who enters his 19th season leading the Beavers. UMF's key returners include Cheyenne Malloy (Skowhegan, Maine), who averaged six ppg, and Jenessa Talarico (Lewiston, Maine), who averaged 4.4 ppg, along with Paige Carter (So. Portland, Maine), Morgan Crocker (Boothbay, Maine; pictured right) and Haley Felkel (Cumberland, Maine). Forwards McKenna Brodeur (Oakland, Maine) and Adlin Chaparin (Winthrop, Maine), along with guards Emilee Eustis (Wilton, Maine) and Kasey Talarico (Lewiston, Maine) will look to make an impact. The Beavers will face a challenging non-conference schedule, playing Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, and St. Joseph's looking prepare for conference action. UMF opens with Lesley on November 18. 






9. Johnson (12-14, 8-10 NAC) head coach Greg Eckman enters his seventh season leading the Badgers. Following the graduation of six seniors, the new-look Badgers will look to returning juniors Kaitlyn Brouard (Milton, Vt.; pictured right) and Mary Richardson (Vernon, Vt.), and sophomore Lindsey LaPerle(Bethel, Vt.) to step up to the challenge of returning to the NAC Tournament. Incoming freshmen Kayla Coombs (West Rutland, Vt.), Devin Libby(Burlington, Vt.), Britani Buck (St. Johnsbury, Vt.) and Luara Vailincourt (Bethel, Vt.) will provide a solid post presence and depth in the frontcourt in addition to freshmen guards Jocelyn Pellerin (Keene, N.H.) and Ellery Keifer (Wayland, Mass.). The Johnson squad will open their season at home on November 15 against the College of St. Joseph. 





10. Green Mountain (0-23, 0-18 NAC) heads into the 2017-18 season with a great deal of optimism with second-year head coach Brad Rideout able to have a year and a recruiting class under his belt. The Eagles will benefit from a strong incoming class having graduated just one senior from last year's squad. Mercedes Rideout (Nashville, Tenn.; pictured right) returns for her junior year after leading the NAC in made three-pointers per game last season. The team will be bolstered by returning sophomore Taylor Hill (Ronceverte, W.Va.) who was second on the team in scoring as well as seven new incoming players. The Eagles will once again compete with a youthful roster, but the growth of the returners and the talent of the incoming class will lead to a much improved squad from a year ago. Green Mountain will open the season at home against Southern Vermont College on November 18. 

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