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Glenville State women’s basketball ranked in top 20 of D2SIDA poll

Courtesy Glenville State College

GLENVILLE — Fifth-year head coach Kim Stephens’ Glenville State College team earned a top 20 ranking in the D2SIDA preseason media poll released Tuesday afternoon.

The Pioneers finished 26-5 last season and captured their fourth consecutive Mountain East Conference regular season title as well as a third successive MEC tournament crown.

“I didn’t even realize they were going to do a poll,” Stephens said of GSC’s No. 17 ranking. “The PSAC is not playing and their kids are still in the Top 25. They’ve done the schools who are not going to play.

“I’m honored to be in the top 17. I think it’s great. I think our kids deserve it. It will give us some juice and some positivity to talk about and work for. It’s kind of been redundant for them to just practice and practice and practice since late August and no games.”

Drury received 15 of 16 first place votes to lead the way ahead of No. 2 Ashland, Lubbock Christian, Indiana (Pa.) and Alaska Anchorage.

GSC, which will be out for a fifth straight NCAA Tournament berth, returns a solid scoring nucleus in juniors Zakiyah Winfield (17.2 ppg), Re’Shawna Stone (16.8 ppg) and Taychaun Hubbard (9.6 ppg). Stone earned a first team all-MEC nod a year ago while Winfield was a second team pick.

Seniors Abby Stoller (5.1 ppg, team-best 5.4 rpg) and Victoria Brown (5.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg) are expected to make a big impact this season.

“We would’ve been deep into conference play at this point in time,” said the coach, who admitted “I think I’m really, really blessed with a great group of girls. They are hungry and they want to win and they love basketball.

“I think they realize they are going to be pretty good and they want an opportunity to play and they show up to work every day and that makes my job a lot easier.”

What also could make things easier on coach Stephens are transfers Jada Mitchell (Coastal Bend College) and Dazha Congleton (Marshall University). GSC is also high on incoming freshman Taylor Smith out of the Keystone State.

If things go as planned, the Pioneers should have a schedule announced soon with hopes of playing games shortly after the first of the year.

“Get the most out of every day because you don’t know when you are going to get shut down again,” said Stephens, who was welcoming back players on Tuesday with COVID-19 tests.

“We’ll start practice this week sometime after the tests come back negative. You just got to kind of be not a diehard planner, which I’m not very good at, and learn to roll with it.”

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