WMU Womens basketball buffalo

Head coach Shane Clipfell addresses the team during a timeout in a game against Buffalo last season.

WMU women’s basketball was picked to finish last in the Mid-American Conference for the 2020-2021 season by the coaches poll released on Thursday.

The MAC coaches showed little confidence in the Broncos’ ability to replace all five starters from a year ago. WMU went 18-13 last season with a 10-8 record in MAC play, good for third in the MAC West.

The Broncos knew 2019-2020 starters Chelayne Bailey, Kamrin Reed, and WMU all-time leading rebounder Breanna Mobley would be leaving the program by graduation, but the loss of Jordan Walker and Leighah-Amori Wool via transfer (to Tennessee and Stony Brook, respectively) were losses the Broncos were not expecting going into last year.

Returning to the team this year is senior forward Reilly Jacobson, who had the most minutes played, points, rebounds and blocks among returning players for WMU. Jacobson figures to be the Broncos’ main threat in the post while Sydney Shafer and Maddie Watters lead the returning guards.

Shafer leads returning Broncos in assists and steals while Watters leads in three-point field goals. Both Shafer and Watters made less than one-third of their field goal attempts last season, and will need to make major strides in their new roles for the Broncos to compete.

WMU’s main rival, Central Michigan, was picked to the top spot in the conference with 10 first-place votes, as the Chippewas had three players on the first and second All-MAC teams. The Broncos did not have any players picked to an All-Conference team.

In second place was Ohio, though the Bobcats did not receive a first-place vote, while Ball State in third and Buffalo in fourth both had one. Following the Bulls was Eastern Michigan, then Kent State, Toledo, Northern Illinois, Miami, Akron and Bowling Green before WMU at No. 12.

The Broncos tip off the season on Dec. 5 at home against Illinois-Chicago. Game time is yet to be announced.

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