CLEVELAND, Ohio – The University of Akron women's basketball team was picked to repeat as Mid-American Conference East Division champions in the 2013-14 MAC Preseason Poll selected by the league's head coaches. The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon by the conference office.
After capturing its first division title a year ago, UA was projected to finish at the top of the East, receiving nine first place votes out of a possible 12. Additionally, seniors Hanna Luburgh and Rachel Tecca were named to the Preseason All-MAC East team.
Tecca, the reigning MAC Player of the Year, and Luburgh, a 2013 All-MAC Tournament team selection, return for their final season in an Akron uniform as two of the top three scorers in the league last year. The duo averaged 18.5 and 16.5 points per game, respectively.
"Rachel and Hanna have proven they are two of the top players in the MAC and they are very deserving of this preseason recognition," said head coach Jodi Kest. "For our team to be selected at the top of the East Division is a testament to how far we have come and what we were able to accomplish last year."
Bowling Green was picked to finish second in the East Division, receiving three first place votes, followed by Buffalo, Miami (Ohio), Ohio and Kent State.
In the West Division, defending tournament champion Central Michigan was chosen as the unanimous favorite, earning all 12 first place votes. Ball State was selected second, followed by Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan and Northern Illinois.
CMU was also predicted to win the 2014 FirstEnergy Mid-American Conference Tournament for the second-straight year.
Akron returns three starters and nine letterwinners from a team that advanced to its first ever MAC championship game and made its second WNIT appearance in 2013. The Zips posted the best conference record in the history of the program at 12-4, earning the No. 3 seed in the MAC tournament – UA's highest seed since joining the league in 1992.
UA is set to open the 2013-14 season Saturday Nov. 2, when it hosts Lake Erie in its only exhibition game at James A. Rhodes Arena. Tipoff is set for 12:00 p.m. Akron opens the regular season on Friday, Nov. 8 against Florida Atlantic at 5:30 p.m. as part of a women's/men's doubleheader at the JAR.
MAC East Preseason Poll
1. Akron (9 First Place Votes)
2. Bowling Green (3)
6. Kent State
MAC West Preseason Poll
1. Central Michigan (12 First Place Votes)
2. Ball State
4. Eastern Michigan
5. Western Michigan
6. Northern Illinois
2014 Predicted Tournament Champion
Central Michigan (9 Votes)
Bowling Green (1)
Preseason All-MAC East Team
Hanna Luburgh, Akron
Rachel Tecca, Akron
Alexis Rogers, Bowling Green
Mackenzie Loesing, Buffalo
Hannah Robertson, Miami
Preseason All-MAC West Team
Nathalie Fontaine, Ball State
Crystal Bradford, Central Michigan
Jessica Green, Central Michigan
Andola Dortch, Toledo
Inma Zanoguera, Toledo