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Toledo Picked to Capture MAC West Division Once Again

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CLEVELAND - Toledo is truly the media darling of the Mid-American Conference. The Rockets have been tabbed as the favorite to win the 2012-13 MAC West Division for a fourth consecutive season, according to a vote of members of the league's media contingent as well as the conference's 12 head women's basketball coaches, the MAC office announced on Wednesday, Oct. 31.

Additionally, senior Naama Shafir, senior Yolanda Richardson and junior Andola Dortch were selected to the Preseason All-MAC West Division squad. Shafir becomes the first player in league history to earn preseason honors for a fourth consecutive year, while Richardson and Dortch are first-time recipients.  

Joining Shafir, Richardson and Dortch on the West Division squad were Central Michigan's Crystal Bradford and Eastern Michigan's Natachia Watkins.

Since the MAC switched to divisional play for the 1997-98 season, UT has been picked to capture the West Division crown a total of eight times. Tabbed to finish second in the West is Central Michigan, followed by Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan and Ball State.

UT also received 16 votes to win the postseason tournament, while CMU captured 12 votes and Bowling Green had two tallies. The winner of the MAC tourney receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Toledo welcomes back 11 letterwinners in 2012-13, including four starters, from last year's squad that finished with a 24-10 overall record. The Midnight Blue & Gold captured a share of a third consecutive MAC West Division crown with a 13-3 league ledger. In total, the Rockets welcome back 69.8 percent of their scoring, 75.5 percent of their rebounding, 71.1 percent of their assists, 87.6 percent of their blocked shots and 69.8 percent of their steals in 2012-13. With a number of key components returning, Toledo seeks a return to the "Big Dance" for the first time since 2001.

Miami was picked to win the East Division, followed by BGSU, Akron, Ohio, Kent State and Buffalo.

The East Division squad is comprised of Akron's Rachael Tecca, Bowling Green's Alexis Rogers and Chrissy Steffen and Miami's Courtney Osborn and Kirsten Olowinski.

The Rockets open their exhibition season on Sunday, Nov. 4 against Wayne State. Tip-off is slated for 2:00 p.m. in Savage Arena. UT's regular season commences five days later at home on Friday, Nov. 9 vs. Arkansas State at 7:00 p.m.

 

WEST DIVISION

1. TOLEDO (24 First-Place Votes)

2. Central Michigan (6)

3. Eastern Michigan

4. Northern Illinois

5. Western Michigan

6. Ball State

 

ALL-MAC PRESEASON WEST DIVISION TEAM

Crystal Bradford, Central Michigan

Natachia Watkins, Eastern Michigan

NAAMA SHAFIR, TOLEDO

ANDOLA DORTCH, TOLEDO

YOLANDA RICHARDSON, TOLEDO

 

EAST DIVISION

1. Miami (16 First-Place Votes)

2. Bowling Green (13)

3. Akron (1)

4. Ohio

5. Kent State

6. Buffalo

 

ALL-MAC PRESEASON EAST DIVISION TEAM

Rachael Tecca, Akron

Alexis Rogers, Bowling Green

Courtney Osborn, Miami

Chrissy Steffen, Bowling Green

Kirsten Olowinski, Miami

 

MAC TOURNAMENT WINNER

TOLEDO (16 votes), Central Michigan (12), Bowling Green (2)

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