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Northwestern women’s basketball ranks 17th in AP preseason poll

With an expected start date in less than a month, Northwestern has already re-entered the national spotlight.

Basketball season is right around the corner, and the reigning Big Ten Champions are prepared to defend their title in 2021.

Northwestern women’s basketball slotted 17th in the AP’s preseason top-25 poll released Tuesday morning. After finishing the 2019-2020 season ranked 11th in the nation, the Wildcats dropped six spots heading into their next season, which starts in a matter of weeks.

Four of NU’s Big Ten rivals also earned slots in the top 25 with Maryland, the Wildcats’ co-Big Ten champions, leading the way at 12th. No. 16 Indiana, No. 20 Ohio State and No. 25 Michigan all found themselves in the rankings as well.

Despite losing the bulk of their front court with both Abi Scheid and Abbie Wolf graduating, the Wildcats are poised for another strong season behind the back court leadership of Lindsey Pulliam and Veronica Burton. Younger players like Courtney Shaw, Laya Hartman and freshman phenom Anna Morris will step into more significant roles to fill the gaps, as Joe McKeown’s squad attempts to replicate the magic from last year and earn another trip to the Big Dance that they were robbed of in March.

The 2020-2021 schedule for both men’s and women’s Big Ten basketball could be released as early as this week.