Hanover College has been picked to win the 2012-13 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference women's basketball championship in preseason voting by league coaches.

The Panthers received four of the 10 first-place votes in the HCAC Coaches Preseason Poll and collected 91 points overall. Defending champion Franklin finished a close second, claiming five first place votes and 89 total points.

Transylvania placed third in the poll with 77 points and was followed by Manchester, which claimed 74 points and the final first place vote. Defiance (58 points), Rose-Hulman (44), Bluffton (36), Mount St. Joseph (31), Anderson (29), and Earlham (21) rounded out the poll.

Hanover finished alongside Franklin in the HCAC standings a year ago, finishing the 2011-12 season with a record of 21-5, 16-2 in the conference and will look for a third straight title this winter. The Panthers lost to Franklin in the HCAC tournament championship 64-44 a year ago, ending their season.

Hanover returns a pair of All-HCAC selections to the court this winter. Courtney Prater, a senior center from Anderson, led the Panthers in scoring and rebounding a year ago, averaging 14.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game as a junior.

Alicia Hopkins, a sophomore guard Columbus East, also returns to the fold for Hanover after an All-HCAC season as a freshman. Hopkins scored 9.3 points per game and dished out a team-high 59 assists.

In addition, senior guard Natalie Morse from Mitchell and senior forward Katie Gahimer from Greensburg have been named as players to watch from Hanover.