@UTTylerWBB at No. 3 in D3hoops preseason rankings

Thursday, October 27, 2016
by Wes Bloomquist || wbloomquist@uttyler.edu

TYLER – The UT Tyler Patriots will enter the 2016-17 season with its highest national ranking in program history at No. 3 in the D3hoops.com Preseason Poll. UT Tyler received three first-place votes in the preseason polling and is only behind No. 1 Tufts and No. 2 Amherst.

The team is also ranked No. 4 in the WBCA NCAA Division III Preseason Top 25 Coaches’ Poll and No. 5 in the Women's DIII News preseason poll. 

The Patriots are coming off their best season in program history where they went 30-2 and reached the NCAA DIII Elite 8. UT Tyler cruised to the American Southwest Conference championship with a 15-0 record and will enter this season having reached the NCAA Division III postseason three straight seasons and with nine experienced seniors on its roster.

“This is a senior-heavy group that has run our system for a year now,” UT Tyler head coach Kendra Hassell said. “We are adding some depth with our new players and I believe the team, as a whole, is hungry and highly motivated. I’m looking forward to watching them compete and seeing how they grow both individually and as a unit.”

Thomas More is ranked No. 4 in the poll and Scranton is fifth to round out the top-5. George Fox, the team which fell in overtime in the Sweet 16 to the Patriots last season, is ranked No. 8 in the poll and Wartburg is No. 10. Wartburg took an 80-74 win over UT Tyler in the Elite 8 to end their season. The Patriots are the only ASC team in the poll and the only team from Texas. Trinity is receiving votes in the preseason poll.

The Patriots are also the preseason pick to win the American Southwest Conference East Division and are at No. 5 in the No. 5 by Women’s DIII News preseason rankings.

Last year’s team set new program records for wins, total points (2,677), 3-pointers (285), scoring average (83.7), rebounds (1,401), assists (569), blocked shots (93) and as the highest ranked team in program history. The team would finish second in the nation in assists, 3-pointers and total points and third in rebounds. The 83.7 points per game ranked fourth in the NCAA and led the conference with LeTourneau ranking second with 70.7 points per game. UT Tyler’s scoring margin of 18.1 points per game was far atop the ASC rankings also with Concordia second with a 4.3 margin of victory.

Michelle Obach was named a WBCA All-American last season after leading the team with 18.0 points per game along with 71 steals and 114 assists (3.6 per), including scoring in double-digits 28 times and having four or more assists in 15 games. She will be playing in her third season at UT Tyler after playing at Merrimack College as a freshman and is the eighth leading scorer in program history with 893 career points. Makenzi May returns as the ninth leading scorer in program history with 833 points and is second in UT Tyler history with 166 career 3-pointers. Obach has 108 3-pointers in her career entering this season. With May and Obach being joined by fellow seniors Re’Elle Miller, D’Onna Matthews, Dia Evans, Brittany Johnson, Madison Wilson, Shuntay Raglin and Adrienne Drake, the Patriots are a team that outscored opponents by a 18.1 scoring margin last season and have advanced to the NCAA tournament the past three years.

UT Tyler, which is 84-9 over the past three seasons, will open its season on Tuesday, Nov. 15 against Dallas Christian in Farmers Branch before travelling to California to play Redlands and Chapman (Nov. 18-19). The home opener is set for Wednesday, Nov. 23 against Howard Payne in an ASC Championship final rematch which will not count towards the conference standings. The Patriots are scheduled to host 14 games at the Herrington Patriot Center.

The first regular-season poll will be released on Nov. 28.

# School (1st votes) Rec Pts Prev.
1 Tufts (9) 28-4 597 2
2 Amherst (3) 30-2 580 3
3 Texas-Tyler (3) 30-2 567 6
4 Thomas More (10) 33-0 561 1
5 Scranton 30-1 536 4
6 St. Thomas 26-4 466 9
7 Rochester 23-6 398 11
8 George Fox 29-1 378 5
9 Washington U. 23-6 362 7
10 Wartburg 23-8 346 8
11 Albright 27-3 330 10
12 UW-River Falls 23-6 328 16
13 Hope 26-2 318 12
14 UW-Oshkosh 23-6 282 13
15 Christopher Newport 24-5 273 18
16 Montclair State 22-7 224 25
17 Muhlenberg 25-3 194 19
18 Carnegie Mellon 21-7 185 15
19 Bowdoin 22-7 184 21
20 Mary Washington 24-5 146 23
21 Wheaton (Ill.) 22-6 108 24
22 UW-Stevens Point 21-8 92 20
23 Ohio Northern 23-5 84 14
24 Stevens 23-7 73 ---
25 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 23-6 72 ---

Others receiving votes: Maryville (Tenn.) 70; Denison 69; Stockton 48; Illinois Wesleyan 46; Calvin 28; Trinity (Texas) 24; DePauw 24; Guilford 24; New York University 21; Marymount 18; University of New England 17; Lynchburg 12; St. Norbert 10; DeSales 7; St. Mary's (Minn.) 6; Whitman 6; Luther 3; UW-Whitewater 3; SUNY New Paltz 2; Puget Sound 1; Rose-Hulman 1; Rowan 1

The D3hoops.com Top 25 is voted on by a panel of 25 coaches, Sports Information Directors and media members from across the country, and is published weekly.