ST. LOUIS – Westminster women's basketball was predicted to finish second in the league, in a tie with Spalding, based on a poll from the league's head coaches.
The Blue Jays received 51 points, including two first place votes, to finish four points behind Greenville.
"Our staff is super excited to be entering our second year here at Westminster and in the SLIAC," said Westminster Head Coach James Arnold. "Having a year under our belts as a staff and having returners and a recruiting class we are familiar with should pay dividends."
The top returner for the Blue Jays is Kendahl Adams, entering her final season. Last season, she was a first team All-Conference selection and a d3Hoops.com All-Region selection. She broke the single-season scoring record for the program and shows no signs of slowing down. Adams will remain a challenge for defenders as she poses a threat on the perimeter from behind the arc and around the rim.
"Kendahl has a chance to be the player of the year and continue to re-write our record books," said Arnold.
Westminster also returns Mirrakohl Johnson. Johnson will be the team's top threat around the rim. Last season, Johnson wreaked havoc on the boards, averaging near a double-double with 13 points and 7.9 boards per game. Johnson totaled 10 games last season in double-figure rebounds, including a 22-rebound effort against Webster.
Along with the returning squad, which includes Jahne Williams and Abbe Sutterfield in the post and Makayla Jackson and Kendal Miller on the perimeter, Arnold is pleased with the potential of his incoming class.
The two transfers include Rei Imamura and Kallee Dowler, who have immediate experience on the court at the college level. Last season at Maine-Fort Kent, Dowler averaged 9.4 points and 3.8 rebounds as a freshman while Imamura handled the point guard position at Arizona Western.
"Rei is a highly skilled point guard with an exceptional IQ and great court vision," said Arnold. "Her experience at a high level of junior college should put her in a position to help us right away. Dowler can not only flat out shoot it, but she can finish off the bounce and around the rim."
Arnold is excited about his newcomers, which include Abbie Reece and Corrie Reece, Connor Hadley, Courtney Wolfe, Hannah Macon, Shelby Jackson, Keyanna Andrews, and Jaden Monnig, and he expects them to compete with his returners for playing time.
"Overall, I think this team has a chance to be special," said Arnold. "I believe the league will be tougher from top to bottom and I think anyone has a chance to beat anyone on a given night."
Westminster women's basketball tips off Friday, Nov. 2 for an exhibition match-up against Southern Illinois University, an NCAA Division I opponent in the Missouri Valley Conference. Their home and season opener is set for November 12 against Kansas Christian and will be a "Cans for Our Community" game, encouraging fans to bring canned goods as admission.
The entire SLIAC poll:
#1 - Greenville - 55 (4)
T#2 - Spalding - 51 (2)
T#2 - Westminster - 51 (2)
#4 - Webster - 46 (1)
#5 - Eureka - 41
#6 - Fontbonne - 35
#7 - Iowa Wesleyan - 20
#8 - Blackburn -15
#9 - MacMurray – 10
See the release from the SLIAC here.