BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — Glenville State is the pick to win the Mountain East Conference title in women’s basketball after a vote conducted by the league’s 12 coaches, with Frostburg State tabbed to finish 10th.
The Pioneers, winners of four-straight regular-season titles, collected 120 points and 10 first-place votes. GSC has won four straight MEC regular season and tournament titles. Glenville State will be led by a trio of juniors in Re’Shawna Stone (16.8 points per game, first-team All-MEC last season), Zakiyah Winfield (17.2 ppg and second-team All-MEC last season) and Taychaun Hubbard (9.6 ppg and 4.8 rebounds per game).
Notre Dame was picked second with 110 points and a pair of first-place votes. The Falcons are coming off a 26-5 season that saw the squad earn its first ever NCAA Tournament berth. Jada Marone returns for her junior season after averaging 16.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game and earning second-team All-MEC recognition. Jen Oduho (10.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg) is also back for NDC.
The University of Charleston was slotted third with 98 points. The Golden Eagles, under the direction of first-year head coach and alumnae Tianni Kelly, returns the nucleus of Brooklyn Pannell (14.6 ppg), Erykah Russell (11.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg) and Dakota Reeves (11.1 ppg). Concord was next with 92 points. The Mountain Lions return senior forward Riley Fitzwater who averaged a double-double last year (16.3 ppg, 12.1 rpg), to go with 4.2 blocks per game, which ranked second in the country.
Fairmont State was fifth with 81 points. Sierra Kotchman, a first-team All-MEC performer last season, returns to the lineup after averaging 19.8 points per game. West Liberty was next with 68 points. The Hilltoppers are paced by Audrey Tingle, who leads all active players with 524 career assists. West Virginia State came in at seventh in the poll with 61 points. The Yellow Jackets return a trio of double-digit scorers from last year’s squad in Charity Shears (16.7 ppg), Chloe Cheresne (12.8 ppg) and Destiny Fields (10.9 ppg).
Wheeling was selected eighth with 51 points. The Cardinals return forward Lilly Ritz, who had 25 double-doubles last year and averaged 21.0 points and 16.0 rebounds per game last year. Davis & Elkins was picked ninth with 45 points. Jamiyah Johnson, another of the top double-double players in the country last year with 24, is back to lead the Senators.
Frostburg State was picked 10th (27 points), just ahead of Alderson Broaddus (26) and West Virginia Wesleyan (13).
The 16-game, conference-only season is scheduled to begin on Thursday. The MEC Tournament is slated for March 3-7 at Wesbanco Arena in Wheeling, West Virginia.