The Purdue University Northwest women’s basketball team comes into the 2016-17 season ranked No. 13 in the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Preseason Poll.
The Pride, who captured their fifth-straight 20-plus win season in 2015-16 and reached the NAIA National Tournament for the third time in four years, was one of six Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference teams in the poll, led by No. 5. St. Francis (Ill.) and No. 6 St. Xavier.
Head Coach Tom Megyesi enters is 10th season at the helm for PNW, who return three starters and eight letter winners from the 2015-16 team that finished 22-9 overall and 13-6 in CCAC play.
Senior sharpshooter Cassidy Deno (Otterbein, Ind./Benton Central) leads the way, after averaging 19.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest in 2015-16 en route to NAIA Third-Team All-American honors.
Defending NAIA champion Marian (Ind.) was voted as the No. 1 team in the poll, followed by No. 2 Southern Oregon and No. 3 Dakota Wesleyan. Other CCAC teams in the poll include No. 16 Olivet Nazarene, No. 18 St. Ambrose and No. 19 Cardinal Stritch.
The Pride open the 2016-17 campaign on Friday, Nov. 4, in the second game of the James B. Dworkin Tip-Off Classic. PNW will take on Cornerstone at 4 p.m. CT at PNW’s Westville campus.