WASHINGTON - The Catholic University of America women's team was voted atop the Landmark Conference Preseason Coaches Poll as announced by the league office Tuesday morning. The Cardinals garnered 58 points and tied Moravian College for the No. 1 spot. The University of Scranton earned the No. 3 spot with 56 points in the poll and Elizabethtown rounded out the top four with 32 points.
Last season, head coach Matt Donohue led the Cardinals to the Landmark Conference Regular Season Title. With a 23-5 overall record with a 13-1 league record Catholic earned a trip the NCAA tournament.
Despite the graduation of Landmark Player of the Year, All-American Michelle DeSantis '17, the Cardinals return nine women to the hardwood including starters senior Payton Smith and sophomore Megan Stafford. Smith averaged 8.8 points per game and 1.5 steals while Stafford made 17 starts as a rookie and was third on the team with 4.3 rebounds
Sophomore Mollie Reynolds, who made 27 appearances last year, is poised to take over the starting point guard role after serving as the sixth man last season. Additionally, Reynolds' classmates Caroline Sullivan and Sydney Poindexter, who each played in 23 games last year along with senior Samantha Cowan, who saw minutes in 27 games, return to the court for the Cardinals.
Cowan, Reynolds and Smith will serve as the team's captains for Catholic's 2017-18 campaign.
Catholic head coach Matt Donohue also added 11 newcomers including 2016-17 Landmark Defensive Player of the Year and preseason All-American transfer Briana Bull, along with freshmen CC Mooney, Ashley Smith, Maggie Rakowsky and Cristin George.
Along with their Landmark No. 1 ranking, the Cardinals were tabbed No. 20 in the 2017-18 Women's DIII News Preseason National Top-25 Poll.
Catholic plays its season opener on Wednesday, November 15 at St. Mary's College of Maryland in the teams' annual "One Bird Family" matchup. The Cardinals begin Landmark Conference play at 4 p.m., on December 9, at Drew University.
Catholic is set to host conference foe preseason No. 13 the University of Scranton on Saturday, January 20. The Cardinals and Royals will meet again in the Electric City on February 10 before Catholic closes out its regular season on February 17 versus Moravian College.
|2017-18 Landmark Women's Basketball Preseason Poll|
|Rank||Institution (First Place)||Points|
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