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Wesmen teams crack top 10 in pre-season conference poll

The Wesmen women's basketball team was ranked ninth and the men's team seventh in the Canada West pre-season coaches polls released Friday. (David Larkins/Wesmen Athletics file)
The Wesmen women's basketball team was ranked ninth and the men's team seventh in the Canada West pre-season coaches polls released Friday. (David Larkins/Wesmen Athletics file)

The UWinnipeg Wesmen basketball teams are both top-10 squads according to Canada West coaches.

The men's team came in ranked seventh and the women's team ninth in the annual coaches poll released by the conference Friday afternoon. 

Both Wesmen teams won first-round playoff games last season before being eliminated by the eventual conference champions. The men's team went 13-7 and beat Manitoba in the first round before being knocked out national runner-up Calgary in the conference quarter-final. The women's team upset UBC after going 8-12 in 2018-19 and then fell to conference champion Saskatchewan in the quarter-final.

Both teams return largely the same squads that got them to the playoffs last year. The men's team lost fifth-year senior Sean Tarver to graduation and are without guard Joseph Medrano due to injury for the start of the season, but return seven players from last year's squad, including three-time all-star Narcisse Ambanza.

The women's team graduated Paige Hastings Van and lost point guard Farrah Castillo prior to the season, but return seven players who played minutes on last year's team, including first-team all-conference fifth-year senior Faith Hezekiah. 

The teams kick off their Canada West conference season Friday and Saturday nights at home against the Fraser Valley Cascades. 

2019-20 CW WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON POLL

Team / Points (First-place votes)

  1. Saskatchewan Huskies / 256 (16)
  2. Calgary Dinos / 240
  3. UBC Thunderbirds / 212
  4. Lethbridge Pronghorns / 197
  5. Regina Cougars / 187
  6. Alberta Pandas / 184
  7. Fraser Valley Cascades / 164
  8. Victoria Vikes / 157
  9. Winnipeg Wesmen / 153
  10. UNBC Timberwolves / 124
  11. Manitoba Bisons / 102
  12. *Trinity Western Spartans / 83
  13. UBCO Heat / 83
  14. Mount Royal Cougars / 49
  15. MacEwan Griffins / 42
  16. Thompson Rivers WolfPack / 40
  17. Brandon Bobcats / 39

NOTES: * TWU receives higher ranking thanks to greater number of higher-place votes. First-place votes worth 16 pts., second-place 15 pts. etc.

2019-20 CW MEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON POLL

Team / Points (First-place votes)

  1. Alberta Golden Bears / 244 (6)
  2. UBC Thunderbirds / 240 (6)
  3. Calgary Dinos / 237 (5)
  4. Regina Cougars / 189
  5. Saskatchewan Huskies / 183
  6. Lethbridge Pronghorns / 169
  7. Winnipeg Wesmen / 161
  8. Manitoba Bisons / 155
  9. Thompson Rivers WolfPack / 138
  10. Victoria Vikes / 136
  11. Fraser Valley Cascades / 127
  12. Mount Royal Cougars / 90
  13. Brandon Bobcats / 73
  14. UBCO Heat / 46
  15. UNBC Timberwolves / 44
  16. *Trinity Western Spartans / 40
  17. MacEwan Griffins / 40

NOTES: * TWU receives higher ranking thanks to greater number of higher-place votes. First-place votes worth 16 pts., second-place 15 pts. etc.