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Women's Basketball - Wed, Oct. 23, 2013

MOUNT VERNON – Cornell is the clear-cut favorite to repeat as Midwest Conference champions according to the 2013-14 MWC Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll released Wednesday.

The Rams earned the maximum 100 points and claimed 10 first-place votes in the 11-team league. Coaches cannot vote for their own teams.

Monmouth, whom the Rams beat in last year's MWC Tournament final, received the other first-place vote and was picked second with 87 points. St. Norbert, a winner of three of the last four regular-season titles, came in third with 82 points. Carroll is projected to be the final team in this year's four-team conference tournament with 72 points.

Rounding out the projections are Lake Forest in fifth (69 points), Ripon sixth (45), Illinois College seventh (39), Beloit eighth (38), Knox and Grinnell tied for ninth (31) and Lawrence 11th (11).

Coach Brent Brase's Rams are coming off a historical 25-2 campaign, which ended with a 53-52 loss to St. Thomas in the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. Cornell won the MWC regular-season championship with a 17-1 mark.

Cornell returns three starters and eight total letterwinners, led by a pair of all-conference performers in juniors Rikki Mulloy (first team, guard) and Taylor Dicus (second team, center). Sophomore Kellie Kuzmanic also started in 2012-13, setting a program record for assists.

The Rams tip off the season Nov. 15 against Crown at 6 p.m. in Mount Vernon.