BOSTON, Mass. - The D3hoops.com women's basketball preseason poll has been released and Emmanuel College has been ranked 25th in the nation, receiving a total of 79 points in the first vote of the 2019-20 season.
Emmanuel is one of only four teams listed in the preseason rankings from New England, as NESCAC powerhouses Amherst (No. 1), Tufts (No. 2) and Bowdoin (No. 5) all appear in the poll ahead of the Saints.
Led by 43rd-year Head Coach Andy Yosinoff, Emmanuel is in the hunt for the program's second straight and 17th overall Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship this winter after posting a 24-6 overall record, including an 11-1 mark versus GNAC foes, last season. The Saints were picked first in the 2019-20 GNAC Preseason Coaches' Poll, receiving 10 first place votes and 142 total points.
Ranked 11th in the final 2019 NCAA DIII Northeast Regional Rankings, the Saints led the nation last season in assists per game (19.6 assists per game) and were among the national leaders in several other categories including total assists (2nd, 587), total rebounds (3rd, 1,425), total points (7th, 2,369), scoring offense (8th, 79.0 ppg), rebounds per game (14th, 47.5 rpg), steals (16th, 354), defensive rebounds per game (20th, 30 drpg), and offensive rebounds per game (23rd, 17 orpg).
Emmanuel, which capped the 2019 season ranked T-36th in the D3hoops.com final poll, graduated only two players from their 2018-19 roster and return over 70% of their scoring offense from a year ago.
Yosinoff, the winningest coach in NCAA Division III Women's Basketball program history (832-281, .748), set the Division III record last season for career wins, surpassing Mike Strong (Scranton) with his 816th win on December 30, 2018 with a 68-58 victory over Ramapo College.
The Saints return four players that started games in last year's lineup as seniors Yuleska Ramirez-Tejeda (Cambridge, Mass.), Kayla Weaver (West Hartford, Conn.) and Caitlin Cipriano (Waterbury, Conn.) are back while junior Jamad Fiin (Boston, Mass.) also cracked the starting line-up last season.
The returning quartet scored a total of 1,282 points in 2018-19 to make up over 54% of the Saints offensive output from their GNAC Championship squad a year ago.
As the second seed in the 2019 GNAC Tournament, the Saints defeated Colby-Sawyer College and Albertus Magnus College in the quarter and semifinals, respectively, and stunned previously undefeated No. 8 Saint Joseph's College (ME), 65-64, in the GNAC Championship in Standish, Maine on February 23rd. Ramirez-Tejeda scored her 1,000th career point with the Saints in the win, doing so in just two seasons at Emmanuel to become the 24th player in program history to reach the milestone.
In the NCAA Tournament, EC drew the Empire 8 Champion Hartwick College, and trailed by as many as nine points in the first half before rallying to defeat the Hawks, 69-65, and move on to the Second Round of the NCAA tournament.
Emmanuel faced off against No. 25 SUNY New Paltz in second round action the following day on the Hawks home court and despite holding an early lead, New Paltz shot over 40% from downtown (14-of-34) to sink the Saints, 80-49.
The Saints open the 2019-20 campaign on Saturday, November 16th when they play host to Saint Joseph's College of Brooklyn (NY) at 3:00 PM as part of the EC Tip Off Classic.