Pacific Lutheran has been picked to finish eighth by the Northwest Conference head coaches in the preseason poll.
Pacific Lutheran finished tied for seventh in NWC play last season with a 4-12 conference record (7-18 overall) and will be returning a young team for the 2012-13 campaign. The Lutes return several key players to the squad this season, including double-double machine and All Northwest Conference Second Team selection junior Samantha Potter. Potter led the Lutes with averages of 16.8 points and 10.9 rebounds per game while shooting 52 percent from the field a year ago. Junior Katelyn Smith will also look to make a major impact this season after rehabilitating an ACL injury toward the conclusion of last season. Smith shot 45 percent from the field and averaged 9.1 points and 5 rebounds per game in her sophomore season.
Missing from the lineup this year is graduated senior and former point guard Sara Backstrom and three-point specialist Shelly Kilcup. Backstrom finished her career at PLU fifth on the total career assists in program history while Kilcup led the Lutes in three point percentage a season ago, shooting over 30 percent from beyond the arc.
The George Fox Bruins were a close favorite by NWC coaches to win their seventh straight conference championship. The NCAA Division III National Championship runner-up Bruin squad received five first place votes while Lewis & Clark received the remaining four votes.