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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- After posting an 18-14 record in 2015-16 and making an appearance in the Sooner Athletic tournament semifinals, the John Brown University women's basketball team was selected to finish third in 2016-17 according to the SAC Women's Basketball Coaches' Preseason Poll, the conference offices announced Tuesday (Oct. 18) afternoon.

The Golden Eagles earned 69 points, including a pair of second-place votes and a quartet of third-place votes to cement its position. Oklahoma City topped the poll with 86 points and six first-place votes while defending regular season and tournament champion Wayland Baptist (Texas) was voted second with 78 points and three first-place votes and five second-place ballots.

"It's a great honor to play in this conference with such great coaches," admitted 20th-year head coach Jeff Soderquist. "I feel the league is very deep this year and it should be an interesting season. It's an honor that the coaches picked us third, and now we have to go out and earn that recognition."

Last season, JBU was selected to finish fifth and performed one spot better, finishing in a tie for fourth place with a 10-8 (.556) record in league play.

Southwestern Christian (56) and Texas Wesleyan (55) rounded out the top five while Mid-America Christian (54) was selected sixth, followed by Southwestern A.G. (52), Science & Arts (40), St. Gregory's (29) and Bacone (19).

Each Sooner Athletic team will play an 18-game league schedule, with each team taking on every other team in a home and away matchup during the conference slate.

The conference season kicks off on Thursday (Dec. 1) as the Golden Eagles welcome Oklahoma City to Bill George Arena for 6 p.m. tip.

The SAC season will conclude with the tournament that features the top eight teams from the regular season, competing in a single-elimination format, with the quarterfinals set to begin on Feb. 28, 2017. The winners will move on to Oklahoma City University for semifinal and championship action from March 2-4, 2017.

The Sooner Athletic tournament champion will receive an automatic bid to the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Championships to be held in Billings, Mont. from March 15-21, 2017.

JBU returns seven letterwinners from last season and have added six newcomers, three freshman, two transfers and one redshirt freshman, to the 2016-17 edition of the squad. The Golden Eagles open the season at Bill George Arena when it welcomes Benedictine (Kan.) for a 6 p.m. matchup.

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