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.
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)