Braves are picked last in MVC preseason poll for third year in row
For the third year in a row, the Bradley women's basketball team has been picked to finish last in the Missouri Valley Conference.
The women's poll was revealed Tuesday at the MVC basketball media day Tuesday at the downtown Sheraton City Center Hotel.
'Thank God we don't finish where they pick us,' said BU coach Paula Buscher, whose team was seventh a year ago. 'It doesn't make you real happy. We use it for motivation. Get better every day is our goal. This is just a reminder to them that we've got some work to do.'
Buscher believed the voting was based on BU returning only two starters — guard Devyn Flanagan and forward Kelly Krumwiede. And Flanagan is injured right now, nursing foot tendinitis.
'We did lose 65 percent of our scoring,' Buscher said. 'But we're more athletic, we're longer and quicker. We're flying under the radar and we should be. But nobody knows about our two redshirts — Monica Rogers and Skye Johnson.'
Rogers is a 6-foot-1 transfer from Hampton University where she averaged 10.8 points and 8.2 rebounds as a sophomore. Johnson is a 5-7 sophomore guard who sat out last season with a knee injury.
Rogers is sidelined right now after having her left knee scoped, but could be back for the Great Alaska Shootout Nov. 20-21. Flanagan is expected back for the season opener Nov. 9 at Northern Illinois and Felicia Nekmouche should return for tonight's exhibition vs. Quincy at Robertson Memorial Field House. Freshman forward Sonya Harris is out indefinitely with a back problem.
'Our competitiveness in practice has gone up quite a bit,' Buscher said. 'We want our injured kids back, but we won't bring them back too soon.'
For the second year in a row, Drake was picked to win the Valley, followed by Illinois State, Indiana State, Evansville and last year's champion, Southern Illinois.
'Preseason polls don't mean a whole lot,' Drake coach Amy Stephens said. 'It's all about what you're doing in March.'
Dave Reynolds can be reached at 686-3210 or email@example.com