Coach: Shaun Vandiver, 9-18 in one season
2011-12 record: 9-18, 5-15 MIAA
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Outlook: Vandiver, a longtime NCAA Division I assistant, struggled in his first season as the Hornets lost 12 of their last 13 games. Emporia State signed two impact players from local schools in freshman guard Terrence Moore (Heights) and 6-foot-5 junior Gavin Brown (Cowley), one of the top big men in the Jayhawk Conference last season.
Fort Hays State
Coach: Mark Johnson, 226-98 in 11 seasons
2011-12: 19-9, 12-8
Outlook: The Tigers lost all five starters and their top returning scorer is Wichita South and Cowley product Lance Russell, a 6-5 guard who averaged 6.6 points. Dwayne Brunson, a 6-7 forward, averaged 17.4 points and 10 rebounds for Barton and was a second-team All-Jayhawk West selection. Johnson has led the Tigers to five NCAA Division II Tournament appearances.
Coach: Kevin Muff, 30-27 in two seasons
2011-12: 17-14, 10-10
Outlook: The Gorillas finished last season playing their best basketball as they made a run to the MIAA Tournament final, where they fell to Washburn. Javon McGee, a 6-6 senior forward, led the Gorillas with 13 points and 6.7 rebounds per game on his way to All-MIAA honors. Fellow senior and Wichita South product Marky Nolen (6-4) started 14 games and averaged 8.2 points.
Coach: Bob Chipman, 721-296 in 33 seasons
2011-12: 25-8, 15-5
Outlook: The Ichabods return 90 percent of their scoring off a team that made it the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament. Senior guard Will McNeill (20.2 points) was a unanimous All-MIAA selection last season, the Most Outstanding Player at the MIAA Tournament and set the Washburn single-season steals record (76).
Coach: Jory Collins, 43-18 in two seasons
2011-12: 23-9, 14-6
Outlook: Senior guard Jocelyn Cummings is the reigning MIAA defensive player of the year and was a freshman on the Hornets’ 2010 NCAA Division II championship team. Sophomore Merissa Quick, a 6-foot-3 forward from Cheney, averaged 10.7 points and 6.7 rebounds as a freshman, and her 222 rebounds were the most by an Emporia State freshman since moving up to NCAA Division II. Five of the Hornets’ top eight scorers last season were either freshmen or sophomores and Emporia State is ranked No. 19 in the NCAA Division II preseason poll.
Fort Hays State
Coach: Tony Hobson, 47-36 in three seasons
2011-12: 20-9, 9-8
Outlook: Fort Hays returns four starters off of Hobson’s first 20-win team, including their top two players in 6-foot junior guard Kate Edwards and 6-4 sophomore center Kate Lehman, a Newton product. Edwards led the Tigers with 14.6 points and 8 rebounds, while Lehman averaged 10.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.3 blocks. The other returning starters are Traci Keyser, who hit 45 of 143 three-pointers, and McPherson High product Kelsie Sorenson.
Coach: Lane Lord, 87-37 in five seasons
2011-12: 27-6, 17-3
Outlook: Sophomore forward Lizzy Jeronimus (15.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists) is one of the best players in the country, and was named the Gorillas’ first All-American since 2000 after she led the Gorillas to the Elite Eight. Pittsburg State, ranked No. 3 in the NCAA Division II preseason poll, was 12-1 at home last season.
Coach: Ron McHenry, 319-65 in 12 seasons
2011-12: 29-5, 18-2
Outlook: McHenry won his seventh MIAA regular-season and tournament titles last season. The Lady Blues are the league’s preseason favorite in both the coaches and media polls. Washburn lost its top three scorers but senior forward Sierra Moeller led the team with 6.7 rebounds and senior guard Laura Kinderknecht was second with 2.9 assists.