PAC Releases Preseason Basketball Polls
WASHINGTON, Pa. – The Presidents’ Athletic Conference released the 2011-12 preseason basketball poll on Wednesday and the Washington & Jefferson College women were selected fourth, while the men were picked sixth. Voters included conference head coaches and sports information directors in the PAC.
Thiel was selected as the preseason men’s favorite with 10 first-place votes and 153 points, while Thomas More (15 first-place votes; 195 points) was chosen to repeat on the women’s side. The Saints have claimed five consecutive PAC women’s titles.
Defending men’s champion Bethany (seven first-place votes) was second on the men’s side with 145 points followed by Saint Vincent (117, one first-place vote), Thomas More (104), Geneva (82), W&J (67), Waynesburg (53), Westminster (50) and Grove City (40).
Saint Vincent (five first-place votes; 181 points) was second in the women’s poll. Waynesburg (151) and W&J (133) took second and third, while Bethany (123), Grove City (93), Westminster (72), Thiel (62), Chatham (45) and Geneva (45) rounded out the preseason picks.
The W&J women are led by Head Coach Jina DeRubbo, who owns 273 career coaching victories, including a 142-55 record with the Presidents entering her eighth season.
DeRubbo, who ranks 40th in NCAA Division III history for career winning percentage (273-112, .709) returns four starters from last year’s squad, including senior point guard Vanessa Rivera (Reading, Pa./Wilson). Rivera enters her final season with 460 points, 255 assists, 207 rebounds and 134 steals in 81 career games.
Head Coach Glenn Gutierrez (71-68 record) returns for his sixth year at W&J this winter. He will rely heavily on his only returning starter, junior shooting guard Zach Bellhy (McDonald, Pa./Fort Cherry). Bellhy has scored 501 career points in 51 appearances and is a career 37 percent shooter (51-of-139) from three-point range.
The W&J women start the season with three-straight home games, including a Nov. 15 contest with Case Western Reserve. On Nov. 18-19, the Presidents host their annual W&J Tip-Off Tournament at the Henry Memorial Center.
The Presidents’ men start the season on the road at Penn State-DuBois (7:00 pm) before hosting the Washington Area Teachers Federal Credit Union Tournament Nov. 19-20. W&J takes on Pitt-Bradford Saturday at 8:00 pm after Davenport (Mich.) plays Muskingum. The consolation (2:00 pm) and championship (4:00 pm) games are Sunday.