The Vanguard University women's basketball team is ranked No. 4 in the NAIA preseason coaches' poll released Tuesday.
The Lions, who were 23-7 last season, lost in the first round of the NAIA Tournament, their 11th straight trip to the national tournament.
Coach Russ Davis' Lions return three of their top six scorers, including All-Golden State Athletic Conference senior Esther Timmermans, who averaged a team-high 12.3 points and 7.5 rebounds as a junior.
Vanguard, which opens a three-game exhibition schedule on Nov. 1 at Cal and begins the regular season at home against Point Loma Nazarene on Nov. 8, also returns starters Alison Drennan, Maree Drennan and Taylor Belmont.
Lubbock Christian (Texas), Shawnee State (Ohio) and Freed Hardeman (Tenn.) are ranked Nos. 1-3, respectively, while GSAC members Westmont (No. 7) and Biola (No. 12) are also recognized.
Union University of Tennessee, which won NAIA championships in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010, is now competing in NCAA Division II.
Vanguard, which won the NAIA crown in 2008, has now appeared in 121 consecutive top-25 polls.
The first 2012-13 poll will be announced Dec. 4.
— Barry Faulkner
Barkley singled out
Barkley was named Pac-12 Conference Offensive Player of the Week, a Manning Award Star of the Week and the College Football Performance Awards' National Performer of the Week and National Quarterback of the Week after throwing six touchdown passes on 19-of-20 passing.
His six touchdown passes are a school record and helped him become the Pac-12 career leader in touchdown passes with 102. His 95% completion rate was a conference single-game record, as was his passing efficiency rating of 319.2. He finished with 298 passing yards with no interceptions against the Buffaloes.
For the season, the Heisman Trophy candidate has completed 140 of 213 passes (65.7%) for 1,773 yards and 22 touchdowns. He has thrown six interceptions.
Barkley's 895 completions, 10,827 passing yards and 10,726 yards of total offense rank second in USC career annals behind Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer.
Barkley has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 38 of 43 career games.
— From staff reports