Couretsy of Bryan Shepherd, Assistant Sports Information Director, West Virginia State Athletics
For the first time in school history, the WVSU women’s basketball team has overwhelmingly been selected as the preseason favorites to win the Mountain East Conference with 8-of-10 possible first place votes. WVSU is coming off of a 2022-23 campaign that saw State win 22 games, the tied for most in school history, make a Mountain East quarterfinal appearance, and make its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2004.
Head Coach Charles Marshall returns for his eighth season leading the Yellow Jackets. He led them on a run last season that resulted in their first time being nationally ranked in school history. They were ranked as high as No. 18 in the national media and coaches polls.
State returns almost everyone from last season’s run including First Team All-MEC honoree Anysa Jordan, three-time Second Team All-MEC selection Destiny Fields and Second Team All-MEC recipient Shelby Harmeyer. Jordan averaged 13.9 points and 7.1 rebounds in 18.5 minutes per game and shot 44.8 percent from the field. Fields was just behind with 13.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game while shooting 45.2 percent. Meanwhile, three-point specialist Harmeyer drilled 34.2 percent of her long range shots (79-of-231) while averaging 12 points per game a season ago.
Point guard Hannah Shriver returns for her fifth year after leading the team with almost five assists and just over seven points per game. Shriver only missed four foul shots all season.
Emyah Fortenberry returns for her junior season after leading the team for the second-straight season in blocks and rebounds, gathering up 9.5 boards per game and swatting away 39 opposing shots.
A familiar face from the Mountain East Conference, Shanley Woods, transferred from Wheeling over the offseason. She averaged 8.9 points per game a season ago and was the Cardinals’ top three-point threat with 54 treys made.
WVSU touted the highest-scoring offense in the nation last season, averaging 91.2 points per game as a team. The Yellow Jackets also led the country in rebounding with 51.7 boards per game.
West Virginia State picked up eight first-place votes in the poll with 98 points from votes submitted by the league’s head coaches. WVSU was upset in an overtime heartbreaker last season by Concord in the MEC quarterfinals before being bounced out by Shippensburg in the NCAA regional quarterfinals.
Mountain East Tournament runner-up Charleston was selected second in the preseason poll with one first-place vote and 82 points earned. MEC Tournament Champion Glenville State was selected third with 79 points and the final two first-place votes.
State begins the 2023-24 season against California University of Pennsylvania in the MEC-PSAC Conference Challenge on Nov. 11th. This year’s conference challenge is being hosted by Cal (PA). Season tickets as well as single game tickets for State’s home games can be purchased here.
MEC Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll
1. West Virginia State (8) – 98
2. Charleston (1) – 82
3. Glenville State (2) – 79
4. Fairmont State – 73
5. West Liberty – 71
6. Concord – 59
7. Frostburg State – 44
8. Notre Dame – 34
9. Wheeling – 33
10. Davis & Elkins – 20
11. West Va. Wesleyan – 12
( ) – First-Place Votes
* Coaches not able to vote for own team