ANGOLA, IND. -- The Trine University women's basketball team was picked to finish second in the 2019-20 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association preseason coaches poll.
Trine finished with 55 points and one first-place vote to place second in this year's poll. Hope (Mich.) College was tabbed as the favorite with 64 points and eight first-place votes. Albion (Mich.) College rounded out the top three schools with 51 points.
Last year, Trine recorded a school record-tying 26 victories (26-3), including finishing the conference regular-season undefeated (16-0) for the first time in program history, and claimed its second outright conference regular-season and tournament titles for the second time in the last three years (2016-17 and 2018-19). The Thunder shared the conference regular-season championship in 2017-18. Trine also made a third consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament in 2018-19 where the Thunder advanced to the second round.
In 2019-20, Trine returns two starters from a year ago, including this year's lone senior in Katy Steers (Portage, Ind./Portage) and junior Shay Herbert (Pinckney, Mich./Pinckney). Steers started in all 29 games last season and averaged 6.3 points per game while shooting 42.1 percent (67-of-159) overall. She was second on the team in rebounding with 3.9 rebounds per game and was also second in steals at 1.4 per game. Herbert played in 29 games and started 28 as a sophomore. She averaged 4.3 ppg. on 40.2 shooting (49-of-122) and was fourth overall in rebounding at 3.4 rpg. Defensively, Herbert was one of four players to record 10 or more blocked shots last season with a team-best 23.
Also returning are sophomores Tara Bieniewicz (Chesterfield, Mich./Dakota), Kayla Wildman (Rockford, Mich./Rockford), Kelsy Taylor (Louisville, Ky./New Albany) and Sophia Kreag (Westfield, Ind./Westfield). All four players saw playing time in over 20 games with Bieniewicz leading the group in scoring last year at 5.9 ppg. and was third on the team in three-pointers made with 30. Taylor averaged 4.7 ppg. in 29 games and averaged 2.7 rpg., while Wildman averaged 3.7 ppg and had 14 assists to go along with 17 steals. Kreag played in 21 games and averaged 3.1 ppg. and grabbed 1.5 rpg.
Trine will begin the 2019-20 season on Friday, Nov. 15 with the two-day Trine Classic at the MTI Center. The Thunder will host Marietta (Ohio) College on Friday in the season opener with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.