Simpson College women's basketball

The American Rivers Conference coaches preseason poll has picked the Simpson women to tie for third in the conference.

The Simpson women's basketball team was picked tied for third in the American Rivers Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, the league announced Tuesday.

Wartburg tallied top honors after winning its fourth-straight league championship last season, followed by Loras. The Duhawks reached the NCAA Division III Tournament Sweet 16 for the first time in school history before the 2019-20 campaign was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Storm tied with Coe for third, Central was fifth, while Luther, Dubuque, Nebraska Wesleyan and Buena Vista filled the final four slots, respectively.

After going 18-8 overall and 10-6 in conference play during the 2019-20 campaign, head coach Brian Niemuth returns for his 34th season at the helm of the program. Niemuth collected his 600th career victory on Dec. 21, 2019 in a 76-69 win over Millikin.

The Storm bring back four of its top five scorers from a year ago as each member of the quartet averaged over 10 points per contest. After finishing second in the nation in 3-point percentage at a 48.4% clip, junior Kia Rasmussen returns to be a threat on the perimeter after earning honorable mention all-conference honors. Seniors Cameron Kincaid and Jenna Taylor will look to improve on stellar campaigns last year. Taylor is 58 points away from notching 1,000 career points in a Storm uniform.

As a unit, Simpson led the league from long distance by knocking down 37.7% of its 3-point attempts, which was second in the country. The Storm took advantage at the charity stripe to sink a league-leading 75.7% of their free throw attempts, which helped the squad finished second in scoring at 81.1.

Simpson will start its regular season on Saturday, Jan. 23 at Luther. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. in Decorah.

2020-21 American Rivers Conference Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll

1. Wartburg (25-4, 14-2 A-R-C)

2. Loras (25-4, 13-3 A-R-C

T-3. Simpson (18-8, 10-6 A-R-C)

T-3. Coe (16-11, 10-6 A-R-C)

5. Central (15-11, 7-9 A-R-C)

6. Luther (15-10, 12-4 A-R-C)

7. Dubuque (7-18, 3-13 A-R-C)

8. Nebraska Wesleyan (7-17, 3-13 A-R-C)

9. Buena Vista (1-24, 0-16 A-R-C)

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