The Hope College women’s basketball team tops the 2021 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Preseason Coaches Poll.
The defending league champion Flying Dutch received all eight possible first-place votes and totaled 56 points.
Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams. Although Saint Mary's season has been canceled, the Belles’ head coach was permitted to vote in the preseason poll.
Trine University claimed the other first-place vote and finished runner-up in the poll with 40 points.
Led by head coach Brian Morehouse, Hope returns all five starters this season, including 2020 MIAA MVP Kenedy Schoonveld, a senior guard, and two-time MIAA Defensive Player of the Year Olivia Voskuil, a senior center.
Senior guard Lauren Newman, an All-MIAA second-team selection last season, is back as well.
The Flying Dutch are coming off a 2019-20 season in which they went 29-0 overall and were NCAA Division III’s only remaining unbeaten team when the NCAA Tournament was canceled on the eve of sectional play due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hope finished No. 1 in both the final Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and D3hoops.com final polls.
MIAA play begins on Saturday, January 23. The final seven games of the schedule will determine the league champion.
The 2021 MIAA Tournament will include all eight teams and will begin Tuesday, March 2, with first-round play; semifinals will be held on Thursday, March 4, followed by the final on Saturday, March 6. The winner will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship.