GREENWOOD, Ind. – The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) released the 2017-18 women's basketball pre-season coaches poll on Monday morning.
With a young but experienced group of players in the fold, many of whom helped the Grizzlies to an HCAC semifinal appearance a year ago, Franklin has been picked to finish fifth in the league this year.
Franklin went 14-12 a year ago and 11-9 in HCAC play. Fourth-year head coach Dana Haggenjos' Grizzlies earned 59 points in the pre-season poll, and are slotted between Hanover and Defiance in the pre-season rankings.
The Grizzlies welcome back nine players from a season ago. Senior Riley Achenbach was the only member of the team to start all 26 games a year ago, and it the lone starter returning for the 2017-18 campaign. Franklin features just four upper-classmen in Achenbach, Mallory Cast, Maddie O'Day and Kelsey Smith.
Transylvania was selected as the pre-season conference favorite, earning 94 points and five first place votes. Defending HCAC Tournament champion Rose-Hulman was right on their heels, picking up 90 points and four first place votes.
Bluffton University slots in third place in the polls, picking up 85 points and the final first place vote. Hanover's 69 points put them just in front of Franklin in fourth place.
Defiance (41 points), Manchester (41 points), Anderson (31 points), Earlham (26 points) and Mount St. Joseph (14 points) round out the rest of the poll.
The Grizzlies tip off the 2017-18 season on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at home against DePauw University. Game time is set for 6:00 p.m.