Coming off a national runner-up season, the Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team will start the upcoming season ranked No. 6 the NJCAA Women’s Division I Preseason Basketball Poll, which was released on Thursday.
This is the fourth-straight season that the HCC women have appeared in the NJCAA preseason poll. The No. 6 preseason pick is the highest in team history, topping last season’s starting point of No. 7. Two years ago, the Lady Dragons started the season ranked 17th in the preseason poll. Three years ago, Hutchinson opened the season at No. 10.
The 2012 Lady Dragons reeled off 36 consecutive victories to start the season before falling to unbeaten Trinity Valley in the NJCAA championship game in Salina. Gone from that team are two All-Americans – Jackie Patterson and Laura Patrick – and all five starters who helped set a team offensive scoring record.
Hutchinson has just four players returning from last year’s team that won the Jayhawk West for the second-straight season and captured the program’s third Region VI crown in program history. Of the four returning players, three contributed significantly off the bench.
Sophomore forward Jasmine Patterson is a six-foot sophomore forward from Frisco, Texas, who averaged 7.8 points and shot 43.4 percent. She averaged just better than four rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Aja Sorrells is 5-9 guard from Athens, Ga., who averaged 5.1 points per game. Sophomore guard Jade Herl is a 5-7 shooting guard from Goodland, who averaged 3.9 points and shot 39.1 percent from 3-point range.
Hutchinson was picked third in the Jayhawk West preseason poll, but is the top-ranked Jayhawk Conference team in the NJCAA preseason poll. The only other team in the poll is Independence at No. 19.
Northwest Florida State College opens the new season as the No. 1 team in the nation. Central Arizona, which HCC defeated in the NJCAA semifinals last season, is No. 2. North Idaho, Trinity Valley and Weatherford College round out the Top 5.
The Lady Dragons are slated to play two teams ranked in the Top 20. HCC will play No. 12 Iowa Western in a neutral site game at Olathe on Dec. 14. The Lady Dragons will play No. 19 Independence on Nov. 23 in the Ramada Thanksgiving Classic at the Sports Arena.
Hutchinson will open the season with the Ottawa University Junior Varsity on Nov. 2 and Labette Community College on Nov. 3 in the annual season-opening Quarterback Classic at the Sports Arena.
The Lady Dragons' final preseason scrimmage will be at 4:30 p.m. on Friday at the Sports Arena against Fort Hays State University.
(HCC Sports Information)
2012-12 NJCAA DIVISION I WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON POLL
1. Northwest Florida State College 23-6
2. Central Arizona College 31-3
3. North Idaho College 23-6
4. Trinity Valley CC 36-0
5. Weatherford College 25-4
6. Hutchinson CC 36-1
7. Shelton State CC 33-4
8. Gulf Coast State College 21-4
9. Northern Oklahoma College-Enid 29-4
10. Casper College 30-3
11. Walters State CC 28-4
12. Iowa Western CC 21-12
13. Itawamba CC 26-3
14. Salt Lake CC 18-13
15. Tyler Junior College 25-8
16. Georgia Perimeter College 23-11
17. Arizona Western College 26-5
18, Southwestern Illinois College 28-8
19. Independence CC 27-6
20. Midland College 23-8
(Records are 2011-12 final record)