Northeastern State debuted at No. 23 in the 2012-13 USA TODAY Sports Division II Top 25 women’s basketball preseason poll, which was announced on Tuesday.
NSU advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament last year for the second-straight season. Head coach Randy Gipson has reached two NCAA Sweet 16s and has led the RiverHawks to the NCAA Tournament in seven of the last 10 campaigns.
Ashland University (Ohio) earned the nation’s top seed after finishing 33-2 and runner-up in the national championship last year.
Three MIAA schools are ranked ahead of Northeastern State, and those are No. 3 Pittsburg State, No. 17 Washburn and No. 19 Emporia State.
The RiverHawks were recently selected to finish fourth in the MIAA, which will be their first year as members of the league. They are also coming off three-straight 25-win campaigns.
NSU will start the season in Weatherford at the Southwestern Oklahoma State Bulldog Classic on Nov. 9. Northeastern State will kickoff the campaign with a 1:30 p.m. contest against Lubbock Christian University.