MACON, Ga. (Oct. 9, 2007) - With exactly one month left until the start of the ETSU women's basketball season, the Atlantic Sun Conference announced its preseason polls Tuesday, and the Lady Buccaneers have a lot to be smiling about. Head coach Karen Kemp's squad was picked to finish first by the media and second by the conference coaches.
Both ETSU and Jacksonville are picked to dominate the league in 2007-08.
The Lady Bucs return nine players along with 82.4 percent of their scoring and 88.5 percent rebounding from last years' squad which beat Jacksonville in two of the three meetings, including in the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun tournament. Jacksonville also returns nine players from last season's club that posted a school record 21-win season, and has the league's preseason Player of the Year selection in Ashley Williams.
The coaches picked the Dolphins to win the league, receiving seven first-place votes and 138 total points; while the Lady Bucs bagged four first-place selections and 133 points. Belmont, last season's regular season and tournament champion, was picked third (124 points) and received one first-place vote. Rounding out the top five was Kennesaw State (fourth) and Gardner-Webb (fifth). Jacksonville also earned the tournament champion selection as well.
Things were flipped-flopped on the media side, as ETSU claimed the top spot with 16 first-place votes and 342 total points; while Jacksonville was selected second. The Dolphins received 11 first-place selections and ended with 318 points. Like in the coach's poll, Belmont, Kennesaw State, and Gardner-Webb were all selected in the same order. The Bruins picked up two first-place votes, finishing with 282 total points; while the Lady Owls barely sneaked by the Runnin' Bulldogs for fourth, receiving 218 total points to G-Webb's 216. Newcomer Florida Gulf Coast gained some respect, by receiving one-first place vote and was picked to finish sixth.
The Lady Bucs were also selected 2008 Atlantic Sun Tournament champion by the media.
ETSU and Jacksonville also dominated in the preseason all-conference team honors. Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.), the reigning A-Sun Freshman of the Year, joined teammate Michele DeVault (Columbus, Ohio) on the all-conference list. Jacksonville's Ashley Williams and Virginia Gregoire, along with Campbell's Marlena Murphy rounded out the selections.
The Lady Buccaneer season begins on Friday, Nov. 9, when ETSU heads to Bowling Green to take on Western Kentucky in the first round of the Preseason WNIT. Tip is slated for 7 p.m. eastern, and it marks the first time ETSU will be playing in the prestigious preseason tournament.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is a 12-member league committed to Building Winners for Life, with a focus on academic and athletic integrity and a balance between the two for the student-athlete, and maintaining a high level of sportsmanship. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun encompasses six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun consists of some of the most dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Gardner-Webb University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.