The West Liberty University women's basketball team received one first-place vote and was picked to finish third in the annual preseason poll of West Virginia Conference coaches.
Results of the balloting were announced Thursday afternoon with Fairmont State installed as the preseason favorite to finish atop the league standings. The Falcons collected 11 of the 15 first-place votes for 218 points.
Glenville State was No. 2 with a first-place vote and 190 points with the Hilltoppers slotting in at No. 3 with 174 points. The remaining two first-place votes went to Concord, No. 4 with 167 points, while defending champion West Virginia Wesleyan finished off the top five at 152.
West Liberty looks to be on the rebound after last year's injury-riddled squad battled its way to a 15-15 record.
Veteran head coach Lynn Ullom returns a strong nucleus, headed by second-team All-WVIAC junior guard Hillary Southworth (16.1 ppg.) and 6-1 senior post Emily Blevins (11.6 ppg., 7.4 rpg.).
Ullom also welcomes back 2011 senior starters Meghan Wiseman and Jordan Stacey, who missed all of the 2012 season with medical redshirts, and is counting on several new faces to have an immediate impact.
The Hilltoppers open the season on Nov. 9 when they take on nationally-ranked Edinboro (Pa.) in a 5 p.m. game at the Glenville Tipoff Classic.