Charleston, S.C. (October 13, 2003) -- The Southern Conference women's basketball coaches have selected East Tennessee State seniors Lauren Trantham (Asheville, N.C.) and Kiya Verdell (Hartwell, Ga.) to the preseason all-conference team, while ETSU was picked to finish 10th overall by the league's coaches and media.
Trantham, a 6-foot-1 forward, averaged a double-double in scoring (11.2 ppg) and rebounding (10.1 rpg) during the 2002-03 season and was the top rebounder and shot blocker in the league. Verdell, a 5-foot-9 guard, led the Lady Bucs in scoring last season (12.3 ppg) and was among the league leaders in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocked shots.
"Lauren's and Kiya's selections were well-deserved," said ETSU head coach Karen Kemp from the conference's annual tipoff event in Charleston, S.C. "I can't put in to words how much Lauren has meant to this program, and Kiya is one of the best all-around athletes in the entire Southern Conference."
Chattanooga was the only other conference member to have two players represented in the pre-season squad. The Mocs, last year's regular-season and tournament champions, were selected to win the conference title in both the coaches and media polls, while Furman and Western Carolina finished second and third, respectively.
The Lady Bucs received 24 points in the coaches balloting and picked up 70 points from the media, while placing ahead of Wofford in both polls.
"It doesn't matter where you are picked in the preseason," said Kemp. "If you are picked higher, then you have a little more pressure on you -- they are the hunted and we are the hunters. I can't wait to see how our players will react."
East Tennessee State finished with an overall record of 9-19 last year, and was 6-12 in conference play, including upset victories over Georgia Southern and Western Carolina at Memorial Center. ETSU returns seven players from last year's team.
The Lady Bucs first home game of 2003-04 will be an exhibition against the National Women's Basketball League on Nov. 23, and they will open their regular season at Temple on Nov. 28. Practice for ETSU will begin this Saturday.
2003-04 Women's Basketball Coaches Preseason Team
Kiki Conyers, Appalachian State
Miranda Warfield, Chattanooga
Heather McDivitt, Chattanooga
Emily Callahan, Davidson
Kiya Verdell, East Tennessee State
Lauren Trantham, East Tennessee State
Deshara Shealey, Furman
Shawnica Hill, Georgia Southern
Jacinda Lambert, UNC Greensboro
Tiffany Hamm, Western Carolina
Preseason Player of the Year: Deshara Shealey, Furman
2003-04 Women's Basketball Coaches Preseason Poll
1. Chattanooga (9) -- 99
2. Furman (1) -- 85
3. Western Carolina (1) -- 81
4. Georgia Southern -- 75
5. UNC Greensboro -- 67
6. Appalachian State -- 50
7. Davidson -- 47
8. Elon -- 38
9. College of Charleston -- 29
10. East Tennessee State -- 24
11. Wofford -- 11
Women's Basketball Media Preseason Poll
1. Chattanooga (23) -- 282
2. Furman (1) -- 240
3. Western Carolina (2) -- 236
4. Georgia Southern -- 211
5. UNC Greensboro -- 187
6. Davidson -- 155
7. Appalachian State -- 134
8. Elon -- 87
9. College of Charleston -- 83
10. East Tennnessee State -- 70
11. Wofford -- 32