MVC releases Women’s Basketball preseason poll

The Valpo women’s basketball team has been selected to finish in eighth place in the Missouri Valley Conference in preseason polling of the conference’s head coaches, sports information directors and media members.

Valpo tallied 126 points in the polling to come in at eighth position, outpacing Indiana State and Evansville. Drake was picked to win the league, receiving 31 of 40 first-place votes, while Missouri State picked up eight first-place votes and UNI received the final top nod.

Head coach Mary Evans enters her second season in charge of the Valpo program in 2019-20. Evans made her mark on the program’s record books as she instilled her desired playing style from day one of her first season. Valpo shattered the previous program record for 3-pointers made in a season, knocking down 276 triples - a mark which ranks seventh in a single season in MVC history. The team also matched the program’s single-game record for 3-pointers, nailing 17 in a December non-conference matchup against Bowling Green.

Among the returnees in 2019-20 are a pair of double-digit scorers from last year’s squad. Redshirt junior Addison Stoller enjoyed a breakout campaign last year, averaging a team-best 12.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Stoller became just the third Valpo player in the last decade to finish a season with at least 400 points and 200 rebounds. Meanwhile, on the defensive end, Stoller ranked third in the Valley in steals, and her total of 67 steals was the most by a Valpo player since 2012.

Valpo’s second returning double-figure scorer is senior Grace Hales, who ranked third on the team last year as she averaged 10.9 points per game. Hales was Valpo’s most consistent threat from downtown, finishing the season connecting at a 37.7% clip from deep. She enters her final season eighth on Valpo’s career 3-point percentage chart (.358), on pace to move into second in program history in free throw percentage once she reaches the minimum number of attempts (.846) and just 34 3-pointers away from cracking the program’s all-time top-10 in career 3-pointers made.

Valpo women’s basketball kicks off the 2019-20 season on Nov. 10 with a neutral-site contest against Ohio State at Wittenberg University. The home slate begins on Sunday, Nov. 24 against Bowling Green.