Cumberland is ranked seventh in the NAIA Division I women’s basketball preseason coaches’ top 25 poll, the national office announced Tuesday.
The Bulldogs posted a 33-3 record and reached the Fab Four in last year’s NAIA Championships.
Fifth-year head coach Jeremy Lewis returns five letterwinners and a pair of starters from last season’s club, including seniors Casie Cowan, TaCouya Allen and Lebanon's London Elie. Sophomore Calamity Jane Coley and junior Tasia Blue round out the returners, but the Bulldogs have added three four-year transfers and a pair of junior college players to go along with four redshirts, including sophomore Katie Smith, who returns after sitting out because of injury.
Cumberland was ranked No. 4 nationally in the final poll from last season and was ranked in the top 10 in all 10 regular season polls in 2012-13, the program’s first top 10 ranking since Jan. 8, 2007.
The Bulldogs will open the season this weekend in the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce Shootout Classic in McKenzie, facing 23rd-ranked Oklahoma Baptist on Friday at 6 p.m. and the host and 16th-ranked Wildcats on Saturday at 4 p.m. CU will also travel to No. 6 Freed-Hardeman on Nov. 9.
Cumberland is one of five Mid-South Conference schools ranked in the top 25, including four in the top 11. Georgetown College, the preseason favorite in the league, is ranked fourth, while Campbellsville is ninth and Shawnee State is 11th. The University of the Cumberlands rounds out the conference teams in the poll at No. 21.