Transylvania University was voted the favorite Tuesday to win the 2015-16 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference women's basketball championship.
The Pioneers received six of the 10first-place votes in the HCAC Coaches Preseason Poll and collected 96 points in all. Bluffton University finished second, claiming two first-place votes and 88 total points.
Hanover placed third in the poll with 70 points and one first-place vote and was followed by Rose-Hulman, which claimed 68 points and the final first-place vote. Franklin College (67 points), Manchester (49), Defiance (49), Earlham (33), Mount St. Joseph (16), and Anderson (14) rounded out the poll.
Transylvania, which finished 25-3 overall and 18-0 in the league last season, is seeking its fourth consecutive conference title.
Transylvania returns a pair of All-HCAC selections for head coach Juli Fulks. Senior guard Katelyn Smith (Perry County Central) led the HCAC in scoring as a junior (19.5 ppg) and was named the HCAC Most Valuable Player. Junior guard Jordin Fender (Paul Laurence Dunbar) also returns for Transy after earning All-HCAC honors as a sophomore. Fender contributed 11.4 points and 3.9 assists per game.