Two teams commanded all 13 first place votes in the 2018-19 ODAC Women's Basketball Preseason Poll, with just three overall points separating them at the top of the survey.
Randolph-Macon College secured seven top nods on the way to a chart-topping 139 tallies, leaving the defending champion Yellow Jackets just three points clear of second position Emory & Henry College at 136 points. The Wasps picked up the remaining first place votes in the annual coaches' survey. The University of Lynchburg and Guilford College each cracked the century mark with 122 and 105 markers, respectively, sitting in third and fourth positions.
RELATED: Women's Basketball Virtual Guide
The 2018 tournament saw the ODAC's top two seeds -- #1 Emory & Henry and #2 Randolph-Macon -- square off for the title. The Wasps earned their championship game spot with a comfortable quarterfinal win over #9 Shenandoah University (79-53) before outlasting #5 Washington and Lee University, 64-60. The Yellow Jackets path took a similar path as they posted a 17-point win over #7 Bridgewater College (76-59) in the quarterfinals before pulling out a tight triumph over #6 Virginia Wesleyan University (65-62) in the semifinals.
In the title game, Randolph-Macon and Emory & Henry played to a tight first-half with R-MC leading 49-48 at the break despite enjoying a 10-point lead in the first quarter. The Wasps led by one, 58-57, after three frames, setting up a race to the finish. Tied 68-all with 24-seconds to play, Jayla Wade dropped in a baseline layup to give R-MC a lead it would not relinquish on the way to a 72-68 victory.
RELATED: ODAC Tournament Site | 2018 Tournament Results
The season continued for both R-MC and E&H in the NCAA Tournament. Randolph-Macon was selected to host first and second round action, while the Wasps traveled to Messiah College for early round play. R-MC scratched its way to a 67-56 win over a tough University of Valley Forge squad before falling to Christopher Newport University, 84-58, in round two.
Emory & Henry also won its first game, taking down Roger Williams, 66-55. The Wasps led host Messiah, 29-27, at the half, but the Falcons doubled-up E&H in the third quarter on the way to a 62-49 decision.
RELATED: 2018 NCAA Tournament Bracket
There will be plenty of talent returning to ODAC rosters in 2018-19 with 11 of the 18 honorees from the 2018 All-ODAC teams. That includes a trio of All-ODAC First Team selections, each of whom have earned multiple all-league options. Randolph-Macon center Kelly Williams was a first teamer for a second straight season in addition to Rookie of the Year honors in 2017, Player of the Year laurels last year, and multiple All-America nods. Much like Williams, Virginia Wesleyan guard Jayla Harris is a two-time first team choice after an All-ODAC Second Team selection as a freshman. Emory & Henry forward Taylor Blevins was twice a second team pick and former Rookie of the Year before earning a spot on the first team in 2018.
Five members of the second team also return. Forward Sydney McKinney gives E&H two All-ODAC returners, while guard Briana Moore and forwards Molly Shephard and Miracle Walters account for the lone honorees for Bridgewater College, Lynchburg, and Guilford, respectively.
Forward Jordan Sondrol earned a second team spot and is one of two honorees returning for Shenandoah along with All-ODAC Third Team guard Ashley Stone. Eastern Mennonite University and Randolph-Macon welcome also feature third-team returners in forwards Jess Washington and Charlotte Woods, respectively.
RELATED: 2018 All-ODAC Women's Basketball Awards
The 2018-19 season kicks off a week early with non-conference play the weekend of November 9-11. The first conference matchup takes place Tuesday, November 13, and will continue throughout the schedule.
The ODAC Tournament undergoes a bit of a change in 2019. The overall field will be pared down to 10 teams. The top six seeds will advance to the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Va., for the quarterfinals, while seeds 7-10 will compete in two first rounds games with the two winners rounding out the quarterfinals. First round games at the #7 and #8 seeds are set for Tuesday, February 19. The quarterfinals will be competed Friday, February 22, followed by the semifinals on Saturday, February 23. The conference champion will be crowned on Sunday, February 24.
RELATED: 2018-19 ODAC Women's Basketball Schedule
Listed below is the 2018-19 ODAC Women's Basketball Preseason Poll. For more information on ODAC women's basketball, visit any of the participating school's websites, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com and view the women's basketball virtual guide. The virtual guide and this release will be updated with interviews featuring the ODAC's head coaches from media day.
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2018-19 ODAC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON POLL
(#) Denotes First Place Votes
|1. Randolph-Macon College (7)||139 pts.|
|2. Emory & Henry College (6)||136 pts.|
|3. University of Lynchburg||122 pts.|
|4. Guilford College||105 pts.|
|5. Virginia Wesleyan University||94 pts.|
|6. Bridgewater College||83 pts.|
|7. Eastern Mennonite University||74 pts.|
|8. Washington and Lee University||64 pts.|
|9. Shenandoah University||60 pts.|
|10. Roanoke College||54 pts.|
|11. Ferrum College||47 pts.|
|12. Randolph College||23 pts.|
|13. Hollins University||13 pts.|