LA GRANDE, Ore. – The Evergreen Geoducks are predicted to finish at the bottom of the conference standings this season if the Cascade Conference coaches poll rings true. The Geoduck women are predicted to finish ninth in the preseason poll while the men are prognosticated at 10th in their respective poll.
The Geoduck women, who finished tied for seventh last season while earning a spot in the 2012 Cascade Conference tournament, earned 23 points to take ninth in the preseason poll, despite returning four of five starters in 2012-13. Evergreen will be led by All-CCC forward Danielle Swain (Rainier, Wash./Black Hills HS), who was second in the conference in scoring (15.0 ppg) and third in rebounding (9.6 rpg).
Eastern Oregon is predicted to win the women’s title, earning nine of 10 first-place votes for 99 points. Corban was picked second, followed by College of Idaho, Warner Pacific, Oregon Tech, Southern Oregon, Northwest Christian, Concordia, Evergreen and Northwest.
On the men’s side, Evergreen has nowhere to go but up as the Geoducks were picked 10th in the preseason poll after going winless in conference play last season. Evergreen returns forwards Elzie Dickens III (Seattle, Wash./Highline CC) and Travis Wagner (Federal Way, Wash./Green River CC) from a year ago but the rest of the roster will look brand new as the green and white look to surprise some teams on their way up the conference standings.
Defending NAIA national champion Oregon Tech has been picked to finish first, though the Hustlin’ Owls earned just four of 10 first place votes. Eastern Oregon was picked second with two first place votes while Warner Pacific was just one point back in third, also with two first place votes. Southern Oregon earned the final two first place votes in fourth and were followed by Northwest, College of Idaho, Corban, Concordia, Northwest Christian and Evergreen.
The Geoduck men will open up the 2012-13 season on November 1 with an exhibition contest at home against the Seattle Mountaineers. Their first counting game comes a few days later when they travel up to Kirkland for a non-conference tilt with conference-foe Northwest. The Evergreen women will open up the season at home on Nov. 13 with an exhibition against crosstown foe Saint Martin’s before opening up the season in earnest on Nov. 17 at Puget Sound.