The Buffalo State women's basketball team begins the season with plenty of expectations as the Bengals were ranked No. 23 in the DIII News National Preseason Poll.
The Bengals went 25-3 last year, tying the school record for wins in a season. Buffalo State won the regular season SUNYAC title but lost to Oneonta in the championship game.
Returning this year for coach Sue Roarke, last year's SUNYAC Coach of the year, are seven players including junior power forward Bianca Smiley (Sweet Home). Last season, she became just the second Bengal to earn All-American honors in the program, averaging 14.3 points and 8.8 rebounds a game. She had 11 double-doubles and 48 steals.
The Bengals open the season on Nov. 16 hosting Alfred in the opening round of the Betty Abgott Invitational.
Meanwhile, Erie Community College has both its men's and women's teams ranked the NJCAA Division II preseason polls. The men are ranked eighth as the Kats are coming off back-to-back NJCAA national tournament appearances. ECC returns Eyimofee Edukugho who was an All-Region III forward. They open the season Nov. 3 hosting Delaware Tech in the first round of the Cole's/Brennan's Tournament.
The ECC women were ranked 20th after capturing their first Region III Title and advancing to the national tournament. THe Kats return Charmaine Weaver (Cheektowaga) and open their season Nov. 9 in a tournament at Garrett (Md.) College.
--- Amy Moritz
Photo of Bianca Smiley from Buffalo State Athletics.