HLWBB Preseason Polls: How Did We Do?

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Jaida McCloud

On the heels of our announcements of the HoriZone Roundtable preseason women’s poll and preseason all-conference teams on Tuesday morning, the Horizon League followed suit with its coaches poll results on Tuesday afternoon. The conference vote, naturally, was similar to our list – but not identical. Let’s compare.

PlaceHorizon LeagueHoriZone Roundtable
1.IUPUIIUPUI
2.MilwaukeeMilwaukee
3.Green BayGreen Bay
4.Northern KentuckyCleveland State
5.OaklandOakland (T-5th)
6.Cleveland StateNorthern Kentucky (T-5th)
7.Youngstown State (T-7th)Youngstown State
8.Wright State (T-7th)Wright State
9.Robert MorrisUIC
10.UICRobert Morris
11.Purdue Fort WaynePurdue Fort Wayne
12.Detroit MercyDetroit Mercy

Preseason coaches polls aren’t exactly known for making bold moves, and that’s almost by design, with everyone trying to walk a political tightrope among their peers. However, like us, they observed that Wright State was cored over the offseason and dropped them from the lofty perch usually afforded to defending champions. The champs are the champs until someone beats them, the logic goes. Or until they lose their entire coaching staff and most of their best players. Nevertheless, the conference coaches put the Raiders into a seventh place tie with Youngstown State, while we had the Penguins pretty decisively ahead of the last five teams.

After an identical top three between our vote and theirs, things get interesting in the fourth through eighth positions. Our vote was extremely close in this region, so it’s not exactly stunning that the coaches shook things out in a somewhat different order. Cleveland State suffered the most in dropping two spots from the HoriZone Roundtable poll, as the coaches seem to think that the departure of Mariah White outweighs the Vikings’ large group of newcomers. No other team shifted by more than one position between the two tallies.

On to the all-conference teams.

First Team

Horizon LeagueHoriZone Roundtable
Macee Williams* (IUPUI)Macee Williams* (IUPUI)
Megan Walstad (Milwaukee)Megan Walstad (Milwaukee)
Lindsey Duvall (Northern Kentucky)Lindsey Duvall (Northern Kentucky)
Kahlaijah Dean (Oakland)Kahlaijah Dean (Oakland)
Rachel McLimore (IUPUI)Chelsea Olson (Youngstown State)
* Player of the Year

Second Team

Horizon LeagueHoriZone Roundtable
Destiny Leo (Cleveland State)Destiny Leo (Cleveland State)
Ivy Turner (Northern Kentucky)Ivy Turner (Northern Kentucky)
Chelsea Olson (Youngstown State)Rachel McLimore (IUPUI)
Sol Castro (Robert Morris)Jaida McCloud (UIC)
Meghan Pingel (Green Bay)Madison Wise (IUPUI)

The all-conference teams, like the standings poll, were more similar than they were different. The coaches tabbed IUPUI star Rachel McLimore for the first team, a spot we gave to Youngstown State’s Chelsea Olson. It’s understandable in a sense, McLimore plays for a league favorite and scores a few more points than Olson, both things that tend to play well for the all-conference audience, and there’s also the fact that Olson spent much of last season overshadowed (at least a little bit) by now-departed Penguins stars Mary Dunn and Nneka Obiazor. Still, we feel good about our pick, as Olson remains a stellar defender and distributor, and she’ll have as much to do with her team’s fortunes this year as any other player in the league.

Both votes included Destiny Leo and Ivy Turner on the second team, as well as the opposite player from the McLimore-Olson debate. The last two spots are a bit interesting however, as the coaches picked Sol Castro and Meghan Pingel, while we went with Jaida McCloud and Madison Wise.

Official league polls are never terribly kind to newcomers (other than those on a Patrick Baldwin, Jr. tier), perhaps for the same reasons that they play it safe on the team side, so the Wise call is pretty easily explainable, though we believe she will cement her status as a third head in the Jaguars’ overpowering attack. Jaida McCloud, in our view, was one of last season’s breakout stars in the conference and a case where the coaches missed.

We included Castro on our third team (the Horizon League does not vote on a third team), but not Pingel. It’s hard to go wrong with a redshirt senior point guard from what should be a typically-strong Phoenix squad, but we feel fine with chalking this one up to a classic Green Bay problem: how do you pick the stars from a team that famously tries to avoid having them? We included both Jasmine Kondrakiewicz and Sydney Levy on our third team, and all indications are that each of that trio is on tap to have a very good season (along with others from the stellar freshman class that Kevin Borseth pulled).

Miss anything from Preview Week? Check it all out below:

Predictions
Preseason All-League Teams Preseason Individual Awards
If we had an All-Newcomer Team…
Women’s Preseason PollWomen’s Preseason All-League Teams
How’d we do? #HLWBB Preseason Poll

Podcasts
Comparing notes with Justin Kinner

Team Previews
Cleveland State • Wright State • Milwaukee • Detroit Mercy
Northern KentuckyOaklandPurdue Fort WayneYoungstown State
UICRobert Morris • Green Bay • IUPUI
Green Bay (WBB)Cleveland State (WBB)

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