The University of the Sciences women's basketball team is ranked in the top-15 of both national preseason polls, and was voted the No. 2 team in the East Region by the Division II Sports Information Directors Association (D2SIDA), as D2SIDA and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) released their preseason rankings this week.
The Devils came in a No. 14 in the D2SIDA rankings, and No. 15 in the WBCA poll, behind only one team from the East Region in No. 8/8 Bentley.
Central Missouri was No. 1 in both polls, receiving 35 of a possible 40 first-place votes between the two. Ashland and Lubbock Christian also garnered top-votes.
Union and Carson-Newman are in the top-five of both rankings, while Ashland, Lubbock Christian, Lewis and Indiana (PA) appear in the top-five of one of the two polls.
USciences was voted second in the D2SIDA Preseason Media Region Poll despite receiving none of the six first-place votes. No. 8/8 Bentley and No. 19/19 Stonehill of the Northeast 10 (NE10) split the six top-votes, slotting in at first and third in the respective rankings.
Bentley, USciences and Stonehill were the top three teams in the East Region last season, with each advancing to the East Region Semifinals. USciences would top Bentley in the Semifinals, the second straight year the Devils have beaten the Hawks in the NCAA Tournament, before losing to the top-seed and host Stonehill in its first-ever Sweet 16 and East Region final appearance.
Fellow Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) member No. RV/-- Jefferson and the East Coast Conference's (ECC) No. --/RV LIU Post rounded out the top five. USciences went 3-0 against Jefferson last season, including defeating the Rams in the CACC Championship game, and the Devils beat LIU Post in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament.
The ECC's St. Thomas Aquinas, last year's fourth NCAA East Region Semifinalist, is sixth, and is followed by the NE10's Saint Anselm and Southern Connecticut in seventh and eighth.
The NE10's Adelphi and Caldwell of the CACC round out the poll in a tie for ninth. USciences defeated both those teams in the regular season last year, before beating the Cougars in the CACC Semifinals as well.
All in all, University of the Sciences went 8-1 against the East Region's preseason top-10 last season. The Devils have four of those teams on their 2018-19 schedule in Bentley, Stonehill, Jefferson (twice) and Caldwell, and will also play Hillsdale, the No. 6 team in the Midwest Region, and West Chester, a team receiving votes in the Atlantic region.