COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo - It's probably only fitting that the defending national champions, with several key players returning, be ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA Division I pre-season women's basketball poll.
That's exactly where the Mesa women are heading into the 2014-15 season. That is also where they were prior to last season and that prediction worked out pretty well.
MCC is coming off a 28-5 season in which it also won its third straight Region I championship and has now placed fifth, second and first in the last three years nationally.
Head coach Kori Stephenson, who has directed her team to an 82-20 record over the last three years,welcomes back five players who will be presented national championship rings.
Kylie Herd (So. Phoenix, AZ/Arcadia H.S.) averaged 8.6 points and 5.8 rebounds a year ago. Megan Gillespie (So., Phoenix, AZ/Arcadia H.S.) had 3.7 and 3.0 scoring and rebounding marks and played many important minutes.
Lacey Viselli (So., Surprise, AZ/Valley Vista H.S.) averaged 6.1 points and 1.5 assists, Erica Vasquez (So., Mesa, AZ/Red Mountain H.S.) added 1.5 points per game and Didi Moloi (So., Gilbert, AZ/campo Verde H.S.) had a 1.9 scoring average and all have a good amount of experience in national tournament play.
In addition, MCC has a strong crop of newcomers and awaits its opening game on Saturday, Nov. 8 against Salt Lake at 3:00 p.m. in Theo Heap Gym.