The Illinois State Redbirds have been tabbed as the preseason favorite in the Missouri Valley Conference women’s basketball race in the annual survey of the league’s coaches, sports information directors and media members.
Illinois State, which won the 2008 MVC Tournament and shared the regular-season title, received all 40 first-place votes for 400 points, finishing ahead of Creighton (310). The Valley’s four post-season teams last season hold the top four spots in this year’s poll as Creighton (WNIT), Drake (WNIT) and Evansville (WNIT) follow Illinois State (NCAA) atop the poll in a tightly-packed group behind the preseason favorite.
Creighton returns three starters and eight letterwinners from its 21-win team that advanced to the WNIT second-round. Sophomore Kelsey Woodard is the top returning scorer for the Bluejays after averaging 10.4 points per game in her rookie season. Woodard set a new MVC record by winning the league’s Newcomer of the Week honor six times.
Creighton starts their basketball season with an exhibition game on November 4th against Nebraska-Omaha.