Tommie Women's Basketball received one first-place vote and comes in at No. 4 in the preseason national rankings by D3Hoops.com.
NESCAC powers Amherst (Mass.) and Bowdoin (Maine) hold the top two spots. Coming in at 3-4-5-6-7 are Hope (Mich.), St. Thomas, Thomas More (Ky.), Tufts (Mass.) and the University of Chicago. The Tommies ended Chicago's season at 24-3 with a hard-fought 68-62 home win in the NCAA playoff round of 16 last March.
St. Thomas will play five or six games against ranked teams or teams receiving votes in the preseason poll, inclduing its opener Nov. 16 in Oregon against No. 10-ranked George Fox.
UST will also face No. 18 Washington (Mo.) and could see No. 15 Wartburg (Iowa) in a late December tournament at Wartburg.
The Tommies also have contests against teams that fell just short of the top 25 yet received votes: two games against Gustavus, and one against Trinity (Texas) -- which won 24 and 23 games last season, respectively.
This is the third consecutive year that the Toms come into the season ranked in the top six nationally, and seventh year in a row starting out in the top 20.
All-America center Hannah Spaulding led all Division III players in shooting at .700 last season and also recorded nine double doubles while averaging 19.8 ppg. In 82 career games, she has 838 points, 399 rebounds and 119 blocks. Spaulding needs 21 blocks to move into No. 2 on the Tommies' career list. Her 67 percent career field-goal clip is on pace to break Laurie Trow's 26-year-old record of 63.3 percent.
The Tommies are 58-4 overall (40-0 MIAC) in her two seasons in the top-nine rotation.