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DePauw Women; Wooster Men Favored As NCAC Preps For 30th Basketball Season

2013-14 NCAC Preseason Basketball Coaches' Polls

The DePauw women and Wooster men were tabbed to repeat as league champions in the 2013-14 North Coast Athletic Conference preseason basketball polls, based on balloting from league coaches.

DePauw, which is the defending NCAA Division III National Champion, took eight of the possible nine first-place votes cast by league coaches for 79 total points. Wittenberg was second in the poll with 64 points, while Kenyon landed in the third position with 63 points after earning the final first-place vote. Allegheny was fifth with 58 points, followed by Ohio Wesleyan (42), Oberlin (25), Hiram (18) and Wooster (13).

The Tigers return 14 letterwinners and three starters from last year's team that posted a perfect 34-0 record en route to the second national title in program history along with their second-straight NCAC regular season and tournament championships. Senior Alex Gasaway (Crawfordsville, IN/Crawfordsville) {left}, a 2013 All-NCAC first-team selection, returns as the Tigers' leading scorer after averaging 12.9 points a year ago by shooting 53 percent (160-of-300) from the field, 38 percent (14-of-37) from beyond the arc and 74 percent (67-of-90) from the free throw line. Junior Savannah Trees (Libertyville, IL/Libertyville) also returns as a scoring threat for DPU this season. She finished the 2012-13 season with 401 points (11.8 ppg) after shooting 50 percent (144-of-288) from the field and a blistering 45 percent (55-of-122) from three-point range. In addition, senior Alison Stephens (Prairie Village, KS/Shawnee Mission East) returns as the leading front court performer after pulling down 224 rebounds (6.6 rpg) and scoring 211 points (6.2 ppg) a year ago. Kris Huffman returns to the sidelines for her 21st season at the helm of the DPU women's basketball program as the program's all-time winningest coach with a 466-103 career record, including a 249-31 mark in conference games.

Wooster, which earned its 15th NCAC title last winter, topped Wittenberg in the poll by a 10-point margin after earning eight of the possible 10 first-place votes to total 98 points. The Tigers were second with 88 points and the final two first-place votes, while Ohio Wesleyan, the 2013 NCAC Tournament champions, rounded out the top three with 74 points. Kenyon checked in at No. 4 in the poll with 71 points and was followed by Wabash (58), DePauw (55), Hiram (34), Denison (33), Allegheny (23) and Oberlin (16).

The Fighting Scots, who competed in the NCAA Tournament for the 11th consecutive year after in 2013, return 11 letterwinners and four starters from the 2012-13 squad that finished the season with an overall record of 24-6. The Scots will be led in the back court by the duo of senior Doug Thorpe (Columbus, OH/Eastmoor Acad.) {right} and junior Xavier Brown (Bowling Green, OH/Bowling Green). Thorpe, who made his debut All-NCAC appearance as a first-team selection a year ago, returns to the lineup after totaling 389 points (13.9 ppg), 83 rebounds (2.9 rpg) and 69 assists (2.5 apg) in 28 games last season. Brown, a two-time first-team All-NCAC honoree, accumulated 408 points (13.6 ppg), 130 rebounds (4.3 rpg) and 64 assists (2.1 apg) in 30 games. Senior forward Kenny DeBoer (Westerville, OH/North) will assume a leadership role in the front court for the Scots after scoring 246 points (8.5 ppg) and pulling down 122 rebounds (4.2 rpg) a year ago. Head coach Steve Moore, who has compiled an overall record of 619-140 in 26 years at Wooster, will roam the sidelines this winter for the Scots as the winningest coach all-time in NCAA Division III, based on winning percentage, with an overall career record of 706-205 (.775) in 32 years.

The 2013-14 season begins on Friday, November 15. The NCAC Tournament will be held at the end of February with the men’s and women’s semifinals and championships at the site of the respective high seeds on Feb. 28 and March 1st.

2013-14 North Coast Athletic Conference Preseason Basketball Coaches' Polls
(first-place votes in parentheses, followed by total points)

1. DePauw (8) 79   1. Wooster (8) 98
2. Wittenberg 64   2. Wittenberg (2) 88
3. Kenyon (1) 63   3. Ohio Wesleyan 74
4. Allegheny 58   4. Kenyon 71
5. Denison 43   5. Wabash 58
6. Ohio Wesleyan 42   6. DePauw 55
7. Oberlin 25   7. Hiram 34
8. Hiram 18   8. Denison 33
9. Wooster 13   9. Allegheny 23
        10. Oberlin 16