Rock Hill, S.C. – The Brevard College Tornados, who return three starters from last year’s 9-19 team which fell in the quarter-finals in the South Atlantic Conference tournament, was picked to finish tenth in the SAC as announced by the conference office on Friday.
Brevard College rounded out the poll, as the Tornados received 17 points, while, Tusculum College was picked unanimously as the favorite to win the conference this year.
Tusculum received all 10 votes by the conference and returns All-American guard and 2010 SAC Player of the Year Jasmine Gunn, who was one of two Pioneers named to the preseason All-Conference team, which was also announced. Gunn, a preseason first-team selection, was second in the league in scoring last season, averaging 21.6 points per game, led the SAC in steals at 2.82 per game, and was third in assists at 4.79 per game. Tusculum senior center Catherine Hintz, who averaged 8.5 rebounds and was third in the league in blocked shots at 1.66 per game, was named to the second team. Hintz was a member of the 2010 Food Lion SAC All-Tournament team.
Carson-Newman College is picked to finish second with 89 points. The Eagles return three starters from the team that advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Southeast Region tournament last season. Leading the way for Carson-Newman is Mandy Mendenhall, named to the preseason All-Conference first team. Mendenhall averaged 13.6 points per game last season, ranked third in the league in steals at 2.10 per game, and was among the conference leaders in 3-pointers made and 3-point percentage.
Newberry College is picked to finish third with 71 points. The Wolves bring back three starters from last year’s 21-9 squad, including a pair of preseason All-Conference selections. Helen McKinney, a senior guard, was named to the first team, while senior forward Leanne Watson was named to the second team. McKinney ranked seventh in the league in scoring last season, averaging 15.3 points per game, was third with 72 made 3-pointers. Watson averaged 10.5 points per game and ranked fifth in the league in rebounding, averaging 8.5 per game.
Lincoln Memorial University is the pick to finish fourth with 60 points. Junior guard Dayshalee Salaman was named to the preseason All-Conference second team. Last season, Salaman was fifth in the SAC in scoring at 17.8 points per game and was among the league leaders in assists per game (3.46, sixth in the SAC), and steals per game (1.89, fifth in the SAC).
Catawba College received 53 points for fifth place in the poll. The Indians placed two on the preseason All-Conference team in junior center Dana Hicks and senior guard Milica Ivanovic. Hicks, a first-team selection, averaged 15.1 points per game last season and was second in the league in rebounding at 11.2 per contest. Ivanovic was named to the preseason All-Conference second team after averaging 13.1 points and connecting on 57 3-pointers last season.
Wingate University is sixth in the preseason poll with 51 points. The Bulldogs return junior guard Kurie Washington, who was named to the preseason All-Conference first team. Washington averaged 18.1 points per game, fourth-best in the SAC, last season, and was among the league leaders in free-throw percentage, 3-point percentage and 3-pointers made.
Lenoir-Rhyne University, the defending conference champion, is seventh in the preseason poll with 42 points. The Bears do return guard Cameron Sealey, who was named to the preseason All-Conference second team. Sealey averaged 11.6 points per game last season and ranked fourth in the league in free-throw percentage.
Mars Hill College received 37 points for eighth place. The Lions bring back Brittini Young, the SAC’s leading scorer from a year ago. Young, a preseason All-Conference first team selection, average 22.0 points per game last season to go along with 3.33 assists per game and 1.78 steals per game and ranked third in the league in free-throw percentage.
First-year conference member Anderson University is tabbed for ninth place with 30 points. The Trojans return four starters from last year’s 20-11 team which won the Conference Carolinas tournament last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the seventh straight season. Anderson will be led by preseason All-Conference second team selection Alexa Neal, who averaged 11.5 points per game last season.
The 2010-11 season opens Friday, November 12, with four games. Six more games take place on Saturday, November 13.
The 2011 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference tournament will begin on Wednesday, March 2 with quarterfinal games on campus sites. Winners advance to the tournament semifinals on Saturday, March 5 at the Catawba Valley Community College Multipurpose Facility in Hickory, N.C. The championship game will be Sunday, March 6 at 2 p.m.
2010-11 Women’s Coaches Preseason Poll
Poll (1st) Points
1. Tusculum (10) 100
2. Carson-Newman 89
3. Newberry 71
4. Lincoln Memorial 60
5. Catawba 53
6. Wingate 51
7. Lenoir-Rhyne 42
8. Mars Hill 37
9. Anderson 30
10. Brevard 17
Women’s Preseason All-Conference
ALL-SAC FIRST TEAM
Mandy Mendenhall, Carson-Newman
Dana Hicks, Catawba
Brittini Young, Mars Hill
Helen McKinney, Newberry
Jasmine Gunn, Tusculum
Kurie Washington, Wingate
ALL-SAC SECOND TEAM
Alexa Neal, Anderson
Milica Ivanovic, Catawba
Cameron Sealey, Lenoir-Rhyne
Dayshalee Salaman, Lincoln Memorial
LeAnne Watson, Newberry
Catherine Hintz, Tusculum