American Rivers Conference Communications
CEDAR RAPIDS – Results of the American Rivers Conference’s Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll (as voted on by the league’s head coaches):
|2018-19 American Rivers Conference Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll|
|Rank||School (First-place votes)||Points||2017-18 Record|
|1.||Luther (7)||63||19-10, 12-4 Conference|
|2.||Wartburg (2)||58||31-1, 16-0 Conference (Regular Season and Conference Tournament Champion/NCAA Final-Four)|
|3.||Loras||47||17-10, 8-8 Conference|
|4.||Coe||39||14-12, 11-5 Conference|
|T-5.||Nebraska Wesleyan||34||14-11, 5-11 Conference|
|T-5.||Simpson||34||14-13, 7-9 Conference|
|7.||Buena Vista||24||13-13, 8-8 Conference|
|8.||Dubuque||16||5-20, 3-13 Conference|
|9.||Central||9||7-18, 2-14 Conference|
After a runner-up league finish the past two seasons, Luther College is the coaches’ pick to win the 2018-19 American Rivers Conference title. The Norse earned 63 points in the poll, recording seven of the nine first-place votes. Luther College last claimed a conference title in 2015-16. Wartburg, the reigning regular season and conference tournament champions were picked second in the poll with 58 points. The Knights received the remaining two first-place votes. Coaches are not permitted to vote for their own teams. Capsules on all nine teams — follow here:
New Coaches: After three new coaches joined the league a season ago, there were no coaching changes in this year’s offseason.
The Schedule: At the 2018 NCAA convention, Division III membership voted to establish the first permissible contest date as November 8. (When November 8 falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday, a member institution may play its first contest on the Friday immediately preceding November 8.)
The 2018-19 season kicks off on Wednesday, November 8 with Central playing at Midwest Conference member, Grinnell. On November 9 Loras will travel north to face WIAC member, UW-Oshkosh. November 10 will see three league schools open their seasons. Buena Vista will play at Iowa Wesleyan, a member of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. WIAC member, UW-Platteville will travel to Wartburg for the Knights’ season opener and Nebraska Wesleyan will play a neutral site game against Mississippi University of Women in Denver, Colorado. Mississippi University for Women is a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association. Simpson will play host to Millikin on November 11 for a match-up with the CCIW member. On November 12 Dubuque will travel to Hancock, Michigan for their season opener with Finlandia University. The Lions are members of the American Collegiate Athletic Association. Coe College opens their season on the road against Midwest Conference member, Cornell College. Luther tips off their season at the UW-Stevens Point Tournament on November 16. The Norse will face WIAC member UW-Whitewater in their first game of the season.
The 2018-19 American Rivers Conference schedule begins on Wednesday, November 28 with eight of the nine schools competing. Coe College will travel to Storm Lake for a match-up with Buena Vista University. Wartburg will host Simpson and cross-town rivals Loras and Dubuque will square off at UD. Central will hit the road for a contest with Nebraska Wesleyan in Lincoln, Nebraska. Luther will open conference play on December 1 with a home contest against Simpson.
The American Rivers Conference season is a 16-game double round robin schedule finishing on Saturday February 16. The league’s top six teams from the regular season standings qualify for the A-R-C Tournament. The Conference Tournament will be held Tuesday, February 19 (First Round), Thursday, February 21 (Semifinals), and Saturday February 23 (Championship). Game locations for the A-R-C Tournament are at the higher seeded team’s venue. The American Rivers Conference Tournament champion receives the leagues’ automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III tournament.
2017-18 Season Review: The 2017-18 regular season concluded with Wartburg earning the No.1 seed in the conference tournament. The Knights became the fourth team in Conference history to finish league play undefeated at 16-0. Luther claimed the No.2 seed as the regular season runner-up followed by Coe, Loras, Buena Vista, and Simpson.
With the league’s automatic qualifier on the line Wartburg and Luther squared off in the Conference Tournament title game. Wartburg took an early first-quarter lead and maintained that lead until Luther tied it up at 17 all with 3:03 remaining in the quarter. From there the Norse controlled the second quarter until Wartburg went on a late 5-2 run and tied it up at 41 all going into the half.
The lead changed hands six times in the first five minutes of the third quarter. Wartburg then put together a 13-0 run over the next three minutes to regain the lead for good at 67-53. Luther made it an eight-point game with 3:41 remaining, but the Knights quickly answered with a 5-0 run to seal the win 86-74.
Wartburg made run through the post-season that led them to the NCAA Division III Final-Four. The Knights earned hosting rights for the four rounds where they defeated Webster 86-45 and No.12/14 George Fox 82-58. In the Sweet Sixteen Wartburg downed No.7/11 Trine University 78-54 and punched their ticket to the Final-Four with a 65-61 Elite Eight win over East Texas Baptist. The Knights’ season came to an end when they were defeated by Bowdoin College in the Final-Four.