The University of Findlay women's basketball team was picked to finished third in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) South Division during the 2016-17 season as the league office unveiled their annual preseason poll on Oct. 27.
The Oilers received 25 points in the poll to tie Ohio Dominican University for third place. Ashland University was picked as the favorite in the South and were followed by Walsh University in the poll.
Grand Valley State University was picked as the favorite to win the North Division and received a league-high 47 points and five first place votes. They were followed by Saginaw State University and Michigan Technological University in the poll.
The Oilers are coming off a season in which they finished with an overall record of 15-13. The Oilers began the season with a 10-1 record that included a seven-game winning streak. From that point on, the team seemed to struggle as they won just five of their last 17 games.
Jim Wiedie, the Oilers' head coach, acknowledges the struggle towards the end of last season. "We had some tough losses. Some OT losses, some last second shot losses, and we didn't respond to that very well. But, it has fueled us moving forward into this season and I think we learned a lot. The amount of points we gave up at the end of the season had a direct effect on our wins and losses. I'm not worried about our ability to score, but if we clean up some of those defensive issues from a season ago, the wins will take care of themselves."
The Oilers will return with just one senior, Karli Bonar. Bonar has been instrumental in Findlay's offensive success as a three-point sharpshooter. Entering her final season, she has drilled 206 triples, just 26 shy of a school record. She scored 9.9 points per game last season as the third-leading scorer.
Junior Haley Horstman, a preseason all-conference pick, scored 11.9 points per game last season and looks to be a major factor for the Oilers again. Joining Horstman in the backcourt will be junior Lynsey Englbrecht who is coming off the best season of her career, a year in which she led the GLIAC in three-point percentage (52.4%). Sophomore Anna Hintz grabbed 5.5 rebounds per game last season and is the team's leader on the glass heading into the 2016-17 season.
The Oilers will open their season on Nov. 11 at the University of Indianapolis. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:45 p.m. in Indianapolis, Ind.