ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- The Bradley women's basketball team has been picked to finish sixth in the Missouri Valley Conference pre-season poll according to the annual voting by league coaches, sports information directors and media members.
Returning eight of 13 letterwinners, including three starters, from last year's team which finished 18-16 overall and advanced to the second round of the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI), the Braves finished eighth in the Valley standings in 2011-12.
Bradley, which has advanced to the second round of the WBI twice in the last three years, has been selected to finish sixth in the preseason MVC poll for the third time in the last four seasons after also being selected to finish sixth in the 2009-10 poll (finished in a tie for third) and the 2010-11 poll (finished eighth).
Creighton received 26 of 40 first-place votes and is the preseason league favorite with 382 points, while Wichita State garnered 12 first-place votes and was second in the poll at 347. I-74 rival Illinois State was third with 323 points and the remaining two first-place selections. Northern Iowa was fourth in the preseason standings (272 points) and defending MVC regular-season champion Missouri State rounded out the top five with 265 points.
Bradley received 144 points to finish sixth in the preseason selections, nine points better than seventh-place Indiana State (135 points) and 21 points ahead of eighth-place Southern Illinois (123 points). Drake followed in ninth (121 points) and Evansville completed the poll in 10th (119 points).
The Braves play their lone exhibition game Thursday at 6:30 p.m. against NCAA Division II foe Lindenwood at Renaissance Coliseum. Bradley's season and home opener will be Friday, Nov. 9 against Central Michigan at Renaissance Coliseum with a special 11 a.m. start as part of "Field Trip Day" presented by Applebee's.