Tech has been ranked No. 21 in the nation by the Lindy’s Sports preview magazine.
But four other ACC teams are ranked ahead of Tech in the magazine’s Top 25 — No. 6 Louisville, No. 7 North Carolina State, No. 15 Florida State and No. 20 Georgia Tech.
Virginia Tech went 15-10 overall and 8-8 in ACC play last season, when it made the NCAAs for the first time in 15 years. Tech won eight of its final 11 games.
The seventh-seeded Hokies beat 10th-seeded Marquette in the first round of the NCAAs before suffering a 90-48 loss to second-seeded Baylor in the round of 32.
Tech is aiming for a more successful regular season this year so it can land a better seed in the NCAAs.
“We started off 2-7 in the ACC, with a lot of close games. If we win two more of those games, three more of those games, … instead of a seven seed, you’re probably a four seed,” Brooks said. “If you can be a four seed, then your draw’s going to be a little bit better.”
Sheppard, who is on track to earn a master’s degree in December, ranked third in the ACC in scoring (17.7 ppg) last season. Instead of entering the WNBA Draft, she opted to return to Tech for one final year.
“I considered [the draft] a lot, but I just wanted to make sure I was ready,” she said.