Nov 21, 2012

Lane women lead basketball preseason rankings

NWAACC Women's Basketball

Preseason rankings are usually a complete shot in the dark, as nobody really has a very good idea of how teams will be late in the upcoming campaign. These rankings are exactly that. Updated rosters are out, and a few preseason tournaments have been played, but we have yet to get a good grip on what teams will look like. Coming up is a huge opportunity - the Clackamas Thanksgiving Invitational, which will include six NWAACC programs pitted against one another over three days, Nov. 23-25. Also on the horizon is the Bellevue Tournament, which includes seven NWAACC teams. That lack of rating material noted, here's how I stack things in the early going.

Quick note: Coaches rankings will most likely not be out for a few weeks.

1. Lane Titans

2012 Finish:
1st in Southern Region
Did Not Place at NWAACC Championships

Expected Impact Players:
Freshman G Simone Thompson, Sophomore 6'1 Post Megan Shields

The message regarding Lane to end last season? Full of freshman talent. That message is the same coming back, as they now have a roster packed with brilliant sophomores, including their two top scorers in Kersey Wilcox (15 ppg) and Megan Shields (12.4 ppg), as well as a dose of freshman who should be able to contribute, including one of the league's tallest, Madeline Hedshaw, who stands at 6' 3". 


2. Clackamas Cougars

2012 Finish:
3rd in Southern Region
5th at NWAACC Championships

Expected Impact Players:
Sophomore G Jenny Johnson, Sophomore 6'1 Post Megan Feldman

One of the best teams in points, assists, and steals last season, Clackamas has lost one of their leaders both defensively and offensively in Sam McLoud, and their big three-point threat Makesha Bizon. However, they are returning their two top scorers in Jenny Johnson (16.5 ppg) and Ashleigh Anderson (12.9 ppg), as well as the Feldman twins, Jordan and Megan, who measure up to 6'1" and saw vast improvement last season.


3. Skagit Valley Cardinals

2012 Finish: 
1st in Northern Region
6th at NWAACC Championships

Expected Impact Players:
Sophomore G Sophia Baetz, Sophomore PG Brittany Wilson

After winning the NWAACC North, Skagit Valley came into the tournament and smashed Umpqua in the mouth by 20 points before barely falling to Walla Walla in overtime. SVC then went and beat out a rising Lane team by one, and hung tough with Clackamas for a half. The Cardinals are returning leading scorer Sophia Baetz, good for more than 19 points per game last season, as well as bigs Allison Johnson and Laken McLelland, both of whom saw meaningful minutes off the bench last year.


4. Walla Walla Warriors

2012 Finish: 
2nd in Eastern Region
3rd at NWAACC Championships

Expected Impact Players:
Sophomore F Hailey Felgenhauer, Sophomore G Michelle Seitz

Walla Walla did lose their leaders in points, rebounding and assists when their sophomores moved on, but with a few returning experienced players and a host of sophomore transfers, Walla Walla has the potential to go either way this upcoming season, just a few months removed from beating out Yakima Valley for the No.2  in the East. WWCC's biggest returning name is Hailey Felgenhauer, who put up 10 ppg in 2012.


5. Chemeketa Storm

2012 Finish: 
2nd in Southern Region
4th at NWAACC Championships

Expected Impact Players:
Sophomore G Jordan Klebaum, Sophomore 6'2 Post Kim Tillery

Despite losing their offensive leader in Janelle Weiss (14.5 ppg) and leading rebounder Lauren Codling (11.3 rpg), Chemeketa has reason to expect success this year. One of three returning starters, Jordan Klebaum, led the team in three pointers made and attempted a year ago, and the Storm are getting back a number of players with solid playing experience from 2011-2012. Also looking to make a powerful impact is 6'2" returning sophomore Kim Tillery (formerly Van Dyke), who averaged 12 points a game last season.


6. Bellevue Bulldogs

2012 Finish: 
2nd in Northern Region
7th at NWAACC Championships

Expected Impact Player:
Sophomore G Brittany Barrington

A team that very nearly knocked off eventual 5th place winning Clackamas in the first round, Bellevue waved farewell to a star-studded starting lineup, retaining only point guard Brittany Barrington from the 2011-2012 roster. Barrington led the team in assists and steals, and should assume a decent portion of the scoring for this year's team.


7. Centralia Blazers

2012 Finish: 
1st in Western Region
Did Not Place at NWAACC Championships

Expected Impact Players:
Sophomore G Sabra Spoul, Sophomore G Shenae Sauls

Last year's Blazer's team saw the resurgence of a program that had been good for several years before the 6-17 season in 2011. This season, they will have to win without nightly double double threat Ali Campbell, but they are returning second leading scorer Sabra Spoul and guard Shenae Sauls, who saw a lot of minutes and was second on the team in assists.


8. Umpqua Riverhawks

2012 Finish: 
4th in Southern Region
8th at NWAACC Championships

Expected Impact Players:
Freshman G Kyndal Charleston, Freshman G Christal Jeff

Umpqua lost a rock in the post with the finish of the 2012 season. 6'2 Sophomore center Pua Kailiawa led the NWAACC in blocks in both of her seasons, amd was third in total blocks in 2012. They don't have many players returning with much experience, but they've added some new talent, most notably Kyndal Charleston, a constant threat from beyond the  three point line.



  1. Clackamas and Chemeketa tied for 2nd place in the South last year (CHCC received the #2 seed on year-to-year matrix). Nice write up John! However, very surprised to only see one East team in your top eight. CBC and Yakima seem to bring it every year of late.

  2. It looks as CBC is starting from scratch. May be good by years end, but an 0-3 start is their worst in recent memory.

  3. Chemeketa did not tie for second last year they held it alone even tho they had the same record as Clackamas they defeated them both at home and away on the season.