Women’s basketball: Rebuilding Raiders picked 10th in Horizon League poll

FAIRBORN — The Wright State women’s basketball team was picked to finish 10th in the Horizon League preseason coaches’ poll, one spot from the bottom.

Second-year Raiders coach Kari Hoffman wasn’t surprised her peers didn’t have a higher opinion of her team, but she’s eager to prove them wrong.

“There’s a lot of unknowns with our team — and even with our coaching staff. But I’m excited to get it started,” she said.

“We’re thrilled with their effort in practice. Our growth has been outstanding since we showed up (for summer workouts) in June.”

After averaging 23.5 wins the previous eight seasons with three NCAA trips, the Raiders tumbled to a 4-19 overall record and finished 10th in the league at 3-14 last season.

Only two players return from that team: starting guard Channing Chappell, who averaged 6.7 points and was second in assists at 2.0 per game, and part-time starting guard and Fairmont grad Makira Webster.

Youngstown State was picked as the favorite, getting eight of the 11 first-place votes. The Penguins were followed by Green Bay (two first-place nods) and Cleveland State (one).

CSU’s Destiny Leo was named the preseason player of the year. She averaged 18.7 points and shot a league-best 39% on 3-pointers a year ago.

YSU was co-champion last season, finishing 24-7 overall and 18-4 in the league. Among its returnees are Lily Ritz, who finished in the top three in the league in points (16.9 per game), rebounds (9.5) and field-goal shooting (56.9%).

Joining Leo and Ritz on the all-league first team were Green Bay’s Hailey Oskey, Milwaukee’s Megan Walstad and Northern Kentucky’s Lindsey Duvall.

IUPUI tied for the regular-season title in 2021-22, but, like Wright State, has experienced major turnover in its roster. The Jaguars were picked sixth.

“Preseason rankings are just a guess,” Hoffman said. “A couple teams are super mature and have a ton of returners. I’d say it’s top-heavy with three or four at the top, and the rest are unknowns. We’ll see where everything lands.”

The Raiders have a home exhibition against Ohio Dominican at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. Their first game is at Toledo at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 7.

They’ll play six of the seven non-league games on the road, including trips to Ohio State and Tennessee.

“It’s a tough schedule. In the non-conference, we have a lot ahead of us. It will be challenging. But it’s all about March,” Hoffman said.

“We’re telling our players to trust the process. Hopefully, we get better these first few months of the season. It’ll be fun to compete and see where we stack up.”

Horizon League Preseason Poll

1. Youngstown State (8) – 118

2. Green Bay (2) – 106

3. Cleveland State (1) – 102

4. Northern Kentucky – 88

5. Milwaukee – 75

6. IUPUI – 67

7. Oakland – 47

8. Purdue Fort Wayne – 44

9. Robert Morris – 42

10. Wright State – 26

11. Detroit Mercy – 11

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