LAKELAND, Fla. — Defending regular season and tournament champion Southeastern is The Sun Conference Women’s Basketball preseason favorite, according to the preseason poll voted on by the league’s ten head coaches.

This marks the second straight year that the Fire have been rated as the TSC preseason favorite. Southeastern received 80 total votes and eight first-place votes. They were closely followed by Keiser with 74 total votes and two first-place votes.  St. Thomas and Florida Memorial tied for third, each with with 58 votes.

Southeastern looks to follow up a tremendous 2016-17 campaign in which the Fire were both TSC Regular Season and Tournament Champions, earned a berth in the NAIA National Tournament, and were unbeaten the entire season until the national quarterfinals.

Senior guard Ana Richter, a Second-Team All-Sun Conference performer, is the lone returning starter for the Fire. Richter averaged 28.2 minutes, 11.2 points, and 5.5 rebounds per game.

The 2017-18 Sun Conference Tournament begins on Feb. 20 with quarterfinal action hosted by the higher seeds as determined by the final league standings.  The tournament semifinals and championship game will be hosted by the regular season champion on Feb. 23-24.

The 27th Annual NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship will take place March 7-13, 2018 at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.

The Southeastern season begins on Tuesday against Saint Leo University.

2017-18 Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll (First Place Votes)

  1. Southeastern – 80 (8)
  2. Keiser – 74 (2)

t-3. St. Thomas – 58

t-3. Florida Memorial – 58

  1. Ave Maria – 45
  2. Warner – 40
  3. Thomas – 29
  4. Webber International – 26
  5. Coastal Georgia – 25
  6. Johnson & Wales – 15