Irvine Valley is ranked fifth in the California Community College Women's Basketball Coaches Association South Region Preseason Poll, which was released earlier this week.
The Lasers received 55 points to come in fifth behind Mt. San Antonio (90 points), Ventura (76 points), Palomar (73 points) and Mt. San Jacinto (57 points).
The rest of the top 10 teams in the South were East Los Angeles, Long Beach City, Pasadena City, Cypress and Cerritos.
El Camino, Saddleback, Canyons, Bakersfield and Citrus, Fullerton and Riverside made up the 11th through 15th teams. Citrus, Fullerton and Riverside were tied for 15th.
Five teams out of the top 15 were from the Orange Empire Conference with IVC, Cypress, Saddleback, Fullerton and Riverside all being ranked.
Irvine Valley opens the season next Friday, taking on No. 14 Bakersfield in the Bakersfield Crossover Tournament.
The Lasers play No. 8 Pasadena City on Saturday in the event.
Irvine Valley is coming off quite a season. The Lasers ended with a record of 27-4 overall. It was the second-most wins in program history.
They went 12-0 to win the Orange Empire Conference, won two playoff games and reached the Southern California Regional Final.
IVC ended up fifth in the final state rankings of last season.
Sophomore center Breanna Turner and freshman guard Jordan Coleman were each named honorable mention All-Americans, Turner was picked all-state and the conference MVP and Julie Hanks, who won her 300th game at IVC last season, earned the conference coach of the year award.
Four players - Turner, Conerie Brennan, Karli Kato and Erika Pagkalinawan - also signed to play at four-year schools.
Coleman, Casey and Mercado are returning starters.
Coleman averaged 10.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game, while Casey averaged 11.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and paced the team with 51 three-pointers made.
Irvine Valley also returns forward Patricia Tidwell-McClure and has added sophomore transfer De'Jerre Scurry from Southeastern Community College in Iowa. The Lasers have a strong freshman class as well.
*A full preview on the team will be released in November.