The GSAC has three teams in the top 10 of the 2013-14 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Coaches' Preseason Top-25 Poll, with Vanguard at No. 1, Westmont at No. 3 and The Master's at No. 10.
Vanguard (Calif.) kicks off the 2013-14 season as the No. 1 team in the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Top 25 Poll, the national office has announced. The Lions, who reached the quarterfinals of last year's NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship, received four first-place votes and 243 points en route to their 29th top mention dating back to the 1999-2000 season.
Vanguard, the reigning Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) Tournament champion, is predicted to win its 11th GSAC title under the leadership of three-time NAIA Coach of the Year Russ Davis. First team NAIA All-American Nicole Ballestero headlines the returners for the Lions. Ballestero's 21.4 points per game last season led the team and ranked third in the NAIA. She also was one of the national leaders in 3-point field goal percentage a season ago, converting 42.6 percent (58-of-136) to rank sixth in the NAIA.
Defending national champion Westmont (Calif.), led by 2013 NAIA-Women's Basketball Coaches' Association (WBCA) Coach of the Year Kirsten Moore, collected 231 points to earn the No. 3 position. Despite losing last year's WBCA Player of the Year Tugce Canitez, the Warriors return a strong squad led by Esther Lee and Kelsie Sampson. Sampson was second on the team in scoring at 12.4 points per game, followed closely by Lee's 11.5 points per game average.
The Master's College, which advanced to the national tournament last year, is ranked No. 10 in this year's poll. San Diego Christian and Biola both received votes in the preseason poll.
The first regular-season Top 25 Poll will be announced Dec. 10.
For the complete NAIA release and the preseason poll, go to NAIA Women's Basketball.