This could be a year when EMU's young players get a chance to prove themselves. The ODAC coaches agree, as the Royals were picked No. 7 in the ODAC Women's Basketball Preseason Poll.
The last time EMU's women finished seventh in the league standings was 2008-09. Since then, Eastern Mennonite has been the standard of success in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, racking up a record of 96 wins against only 28 losses. The Royals also made back-to-back-to-back NCAA National Tournament appearances from 2013-15.
Settling in the pack in the middle of the ODAC poll, the Royals totaled 67 points in the voting done by the league's coaches. They were six points ahead of rival Bridgewater in eighth, but also within six points of Virginia Wesleyan's 73 in fifth. Roanoke was sixth with 70. Guilford earned nine first place votes and was the preseason favorite with 116 points. Defending champion Lynchburg was second at 107.
EMU lost three starters from last year's 18-8 team which went 10-6 in the ODAC to earn double digit wins in league play for the seventh consecutive time.
Junior guard Myneshia Walker (Freeman, Va./Brunswick) was second in scoring last year, averaging 10.7 points including 38.9% shooting from three point range, along with 3.6 rebounds. Senior Jonae Guest (Dumfries, Va./Potomac) (5.5ppg/6.0rpg) and sophomore Shaneyea Conwell (Newport News, Va./Warwick) (5.2pph/5.5rpg) split time in the post in 2015-16.
The Royals opens the year at home, hosting powerful Christopher Newport on Saturday, Nov. 19.
2016-17 ODAC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON POLL
(#) Denotes First Place Votes
1. Guilford College (9) - 116 pts.
2. Lynchburg College (1) - 107 pts.
3. Washington and Lee University (1) - 98 pts.
4. Emory & Henry College (1) - 92 pts.
5. Virginia Wesleyan College - 73 pts.
6. Roanoke College - 70 pts.
7. Eastern Mennonite University - 67 pts.
8. Bridgewater College - 61 pts.
9. Randolph-Macon College - 43 pts.
10. Shenandoah University - 31 pts.
11. Hollins University - 18 pts.
12. Randolph College - 16 pts.