Women's Basketball: Vanguard opens at No. 1

The Vanguard University women's basketball team is ranked No. 1 in the NAIA Division I preseason poll released on Tuesday.

Coach Russ Davis' Lions, who were 26-4 and reached the NAIA quarterfinals last season, received four of 10 first-place votes and totaled 243 points.

No. 2-ranked Oklahoma City received three first-place votes and 238 points.

Westmont, the reigning NAIA and Golden State Athletic Conference regular-season champion, is ranked third (231 points).

No. 4-ranked Georgetown (Ky.) received one first-place vote, while No. 6-ranked Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) received two.

Vanguard, led by junior All-American guard Nicole Ballestero, who averaged 21.3 points to rank third in the NAIA last season, has added 6-foot-2 center Melissa Norman. Norman averaged 7.7 points and seven rebounds per game as a sophomore last season at Nebraska Kearney, an NCAA Division II school.

The Lions, who play exhibitions at UCLA (Thursday), Cal (Friday), Stanford (Sunday) and UC Santa Barbara (Monday), open their regular season Nov. 7 at home against Occidental College.

— From staff reports

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