KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A year after winning both the regular season MIAA title and the conference tournament championship, the Fort Hays State women’s basketball team is listed atop the 2019-20 MIAA Preseason Coaches and Media Polls, released Wednesday (Oct. 9) at MIAA Basketball Media Day. It is the first time the Tigers have been ranked first in either MIAA preseason poll.
The Tigers were listed atop 10 ballots in the coaches poll, earning 166 points in the balloting process. FHSU picked up 14 first-place votes in the media poll, totaling 271 points. Central Missouri is a close second in both polls, finishing six points back according to the coaches and eight points back in the media edition.
Fort Hays State finished 32-2 last season, a new program record in the DII era and the second most in team history. The Tigers finished 18-1 in regular season conference play, winning the league by three games. It was the third time FHSU reached 18 conference victories since joining the MIAA in 2006, a total no other school has reached more than once in that span.
The Tigers went on to win their first conference tournament championship after winning three games over four days in Kansas City. It was the first time since 2012 a team took home both regular season and tournament trophies.
After being named the top seed and host for the NCAA DII Central Regional, the Tigers advanced to the regional title game for the second time before falling to national runner-up Southwestern Oklahoma State.
The Tigers return 10 letterwinners from a year ago, including three All-MIAA performers in Kacey Kennett (second team), Lanie Page (third team) and Belle Barbieri (honorable mention). Additions to the roster include two transfers and two freshmen.
Head coach Tony Hobson begins his 12th year at Fort Hays State with a career record of 650-200, the second-most wins among all coaches in the MIAA. He has won 237 games with the Tigers, more than any other coach in program history (237-94). Hobson holds the best four-year college winning percentage among coaches in the MIAA and is sixth among active Division II coaches (448-134, .770).
It is the eighth-consecutive season the Tigers have been picked to finish in the top five in the preseason coaches poll.
Fort Hays State will open the preseason on November 1 when the Tigers travel to Manhattan, Kan. for an exhibition contest before opening the year one week later against Minnesota Duluth on November 8 in St. Joseph, Mo.
2019-20 MIAA Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Fort Hays State (10) – 166 points
2. Central Missouri (4) – 160 points
3. Washburn – 134 points
4. Pittsburg State – 131 points
5. Emporia State – 130 points
6. Nebraska Kearney – 100 points
7. Central Oklahoma – 97 points
8. Newman – 83 points
9. Missouri Southern – 67 points
10. Northwest Missouri – 64 points
11. Missouri Western – 62 points
12. Northeastern State – 37 points
13. Rogers State – 25 points
14. Lincoln – 17 points
2019-20 MIAA Women’s Basketball Preseason Media Poll
1. Fort Hays State (14) – 271 points
2. Central Missouri (6) – 263 points
3. Pittsburg State – 227 points
4. Washburn – 217 points
5. Emporia State – 213 points
6. Nebraska Kearney – 161 points
7. Central Oklahoma – 160 points
8. Missouri Western – 131 points
9. Newman – 120 points
10. Missouri Southern – 109 points
11. Northwest Missouri – 84 points
12. Rogers State – 73 points
13. Northeastern State – 47 points
14. Lincoln – 23 points