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J. Thomas McNamara

         The Millikin women’s basketball team was picked to defend its College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) title in the 2021-22 CCIW Preseason Women’s Basketball poll released on October 28.

          The Big Blue were 11-3 last season winning the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) Women’s Basketball Tournament.

          Millikin received 63 points in the poll including seven first place votes. Wheaton College was picked second with 58 points and two first place votes. Illinois Wesleyan and North Park tied for third with 45 points. Voting for the poll is done by the conference’s nine head women’s basketball coaches. Each coach votes for the eight other schools in the conference in order of predicted finish. Points are assigned in reverse order of voting (eight points for first, seven for second, etc.). Coaches do not vote for their own teams.

CCIW Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll

Rank Institution            Points (1st Pl. Votes)

1        Millikin                    63 (7)

2        Wheaton                 58 (2)

3        Illinois Wesleyan     45

3        North Park              45

5        Carroll                    34

6        Augustana              26

7        Carthage                 23

8        North Central          18

9        Elmhurst                 12

          Millikin returns all five starters from last season and its top nine scorers. The returners include fifth year senior and two-time CCIW All-Conference First Team performer Jordan Hildebrand (Mendon, Mendon Unity H.S.) and sophomoreElyce Knudsen (Philo, Tolono Unity H.S.), who was the CCIW Newcomer of the Year, First Team All-Conference selection, Regional Rookie of the Year and WBCA All-American Honorable Mention performer. All-Conference First Team performer Bailey Coffman (Heyworth, Bloomington Central Catholic H.S.) is also back in 2021-22.

          Head Coach Olivia Lett and the Big Blue open the season at home on November 5 against Westminster College.  CCIW play begins on December 4 when Millikin hosts Augustana College at 2 p.m.

I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.

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