Colorado School of Mines captures the top spot in the 2022-23 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll, the league announced Thursday. The Orediggers lead the way in preseason voting capturing eight of 15 first-place votes. The RMAC Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll is voted on by the league’s 15 head coaches. Coaches are not permitted to vote for their program.
Heading into the 2022-23 campaign, the Orediggers secured 183 points in preseason voting after closing last season with an excellent 19-3 RMAC record and a 25-6 mark overall. The Orediggers are coming off a RMAC regular-season title and a berth in the NCAA Regional Tournament in the 2021-22 season, where they outscored opponents by a 16.5 margin. Head Coach Brittany Simpson, the reigning RMAC Coach of the Year, returns a powerful core of talent led by Sammy Van Sickle and reigning RMAC Defensive Player of the Year Ashley Steffeck. Van Sickle averaged 8.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game for the Orediggers last season, while Steffeck led the nation with 3.97 steals per game.
Colorado State University Pueblo closes preseason voting with 174 points and a trio of first-place votes to secure the second-place position. The ThunderWolves boast an electric offense that has the capability of exploding at will behind head coach Tommie Johnson. The Pack returns an all-conference selection from last season in JaNaiya Davis in addition to three additional playmakers in Morgan Dial, Tomia Johnson and Romola Dominguez. CSU Pueblo concluded last season with a berth in the NCAA South Central Regional Tournament, earning the No. 6 seed. As a team, the ThunderWolves ranked fifth nationally for blocked shots (165) and eighth nationally for blocked shots per game (5.2) last season.
Black Hills State checks in at the third spot with 163 points and one first-place vote, led by esteemed head coach Mark Nore. The Yellow Jackets earned the No. 5 seed in the RMAC Tournament last season and will look to upstage that performance led by seasoned returners Danica Kocer and Haylee Weathersby. Kocer claimed a second-team all-conference nod, while Weathersby was crowned the RMAC Freshman of the Year in the 2021-22 campaign.
Metropolitan State University of Denver earns the fourth-place position with 157 points and a pair of preseason first-place votes. The Roadrunners have set a bar of success for themselves that they are eager to meet after claiming the RMAC Tournament championship as the No. 6 seed. MSU Denver is looking to make some noise in RMAC play behind Kendra Parra, who closed last season averaging 8.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Tosjanae Bonds also returns for the Roadrunners after earning a RMAC honorable mention nod during her freshman season.
Colorado Mesa locks up the league’s final first-place vote and 149 points to take hold of fifth place in preseason voting. Westminster earns the sixth-place role with 138 points, followed by Regis in seventh place with 112 points and Adams State in eighth place with 108 points.
University of Colorado Colorado Springs stands ninth overall with 93 points, while South Dakota Mines occupies 10th place with 72 points. In 11th place is Colorado Christian with 61 points, just ahead of Western Colorado in 12th place with 57 points.
Chadron State claims 13th overall with 50 points, while Fort Lewis (38 points) and New Mexico Highlands (20 points) round out the RMAC preseason poll.
The 2022-23 RMAC Women’s Basketball Tournament is slated to begin on Tuesday, Feb. 28, with quarterfinal matchups hosted at the sites of the top-four seeds. The semifinal and championship games will then be hosted by the highest remaining seed March 3-4.
2022-23 RMAC Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll
Institution (First-Place Votes) Points
- Colorado School of Mines (8) 183
- CSU Pueblo (3) 174
- Black Hills State (1) 163
- MSU Denver (2) 157
- Colorado Mesa (1) 149
- Westminster 138
- Regis 112
- Adams State 108
- UCCS 93
- South Dakota Mines 72
- Colorado Christian 61
- Western Colorado 57
- Chadron State 50
- Fort Lewis 38
- New Mexico Highlands 20