St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 22, 2018 – The Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team was announced as the No. 18-ranked team in D3hoops.com's Preseason Poll, as announced by the website on Monday.
Back-to-back national champion Amherst College was voted No. 1 in the initial poll, garnering 21 first place votes out of 25 ballots, totaling 617 points. The Bears were recipients of 137 points.
Head coach Randi Henderson enters her second season at the helm after guiding WashU to a 19-8 overall record. WashU has six opponents potentially on the schedule against Top-25 teams.
The Bears open their season against No. 22 University of Texas at Dallas on Friday, Nov. 16 during the 18th Annual McWilliams Classic. No. 12 Illinois Wesleyan University or No. 13 DePauw University will be the Bears opponent on Nov. 25 during the Midwest Challenge.
WashU's schedule also features No. 4 University of St. Thomas and potentially No. 15 Wartburg College at the Wartburg Holiday Tournament Dec. 29-30. The final opponent of the Bears' listed in the Top-25 is University Athletic Association (UAA) foe No. 7 University of Chicago.
The Bears return 15 letterwinners and five student-athletes who made at least 10 starts a year ago. Senior forward Madeline Homoly earned D3hoops.com Central Region and all-UAA First Team honors a year ago. Homoly started all 27 games for the Bears and led the team in scoring (16.7 ppg) and rebounding (7.5 rpg).
Senior guard Rachael Sondag and senior forward Stephanie Botkin also return after earning all-UAA honors a year ago. Sondag averaged 12.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game a year ago, and drained 79 treys, the second most all-time in school history. Botkin posted 9.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game while shooting 49.5 percent from the field.
Junior forward Kristina Schmelter (9.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg) and senior guard Becca Clark-Callender (6.0 ppg, 4.5 apg) also return after making a combined 25 starts a year ago, while senior guards Caroline Ballard (4.5 ppg) and Katie Claussner (4.2 ppg) were impact players off the bench a year ago.