Rock Hill, S.C. - The South Atlantic Conference released the 2009-2010 season preview and preseason All-Conference selections Wednesday afternoon, naming Samantha Winn to the All-Conference second team. With the selection, Winn becomes the first women's basketball player to receive this honor.
Winn, a 5-10 forward, led the 2008-2009 Tornados in scoring averaging 16.4 points per game, ranking her second in the conference while also leading the team in rebounding averaging 7.8 per game and ranking fourth in the conference.
This year’s team will enter the season stronger and more experienced as Head Coach Shannon Reid returns eleven players and all five starters from last year’s team that went 6-21 and 0-16 in the SAC in their first season as full NCAA Division II members. Coach Reid also welcomes her first recruiting class as the Tornados look to improve with new faces and veteran leadership.
Lenoir-Rhyne University, which won both the regular-season and Food Lion South Atlantic Conference women's basketball tournament titles, is the favorite to win the 2010 championship, in a poll of the league's head coaches.
The Bears, who return all five starters off last season's team that went 27-5, received eight first-place votes and 80 of a possible 81 points.
Lenoir-Rhyne also leads the way with three on the preseason All-Conference team. Senior center Denise Moore, the most valuable player of last year's conference tournament, is back after averaging 13.6 points and 7.1 rebounds last season. She is joined on the preseason first team by junior guard Amber Holt, a three-time first team All-Conference selection. Brittany Mitch was named to the preseason second team.
Carson-Newman College is picked to finish second. The Lady Eagles received one first-place vote and 70 total points.
Carson-Newman brings back its top three scorers from last year's team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Ashley Kyle led Carson-Newman in scoring at 14.7 points per game and ranked third in the league in assists. She is joined on the preseason All-Conference first team by senior forward Shari Buford, a two-time All-SAC selection who led the nation in field goal percentage last season and is a preseason honorable mention All-American.
Newberry College is picked to finish third with 56 points.
Newberry also placed two on the preseason All-Conference second team in Anita Bulcher and Helen McKinney. Bulcher, a senior forward, averaged 13.3 points and was second in the conference with 8.7 rebounds per game. McKinney was second on the team in scoring last year at 14.9 points per game.
Tusculum College is fourth in the poll with 54 points. The Pioneers were conference champions with Lenoir-Rhyne last season, but will be under the direction of new coach Adell Harris. Returning to the Pioneers is Jasmine Gunn, a preseason All-Conference first team selection as well as a preseason honorable mention All-American to lead the team.
Wingate University is the pick for fifth place with 47 points. The Bulldogs will begin a new era without two-time conference Player of the Year Anna Atkinson. Wingate does return Kurie Washington, last season's Freshman of the Year, who was named to the preseason All-Conference first team.
Catawba College stands in sixth place with 32 points. The Catawba Indians bring back sophomore center Dana Hicks, who averaged 11.1 points and 6.9 rebounds in her first collegiate season and was named to the preseason All-Conference second team.
Lincoln Memorial University received 28 points for seventh place. The Lady Railsplitters return four players from last year's squad, including sophomore point guard Dayshalee Salaman, a member of the 2009 SAC All-Freshman team.
Mars Hill College is picked for the eighth spot with 25 points The Lions bring back Brittini Young, who led the conference last year in scoring (16.6 points per game) and free-throw percentage (.865) and was named to the preseason All-Conference second team.
Brevard College rounds out the poll with 13 points. The Tornados placed Samantha Winn on the preseason All-Conference second team. Last season, Winn was second in the conference in scoring at 16.4 points per game.
The 2009-10 season opens Sunday, November 15, with a pair of games. Wingate is on the road to face Queens University of Charlotte, while Carson-Newman hosts future SAC member Anderson University. Three more teams open play on Monday, November 16.
The 2010 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference tournament will begin on Wednesday, March 3 with quarterfinal games on campus sites. Winners advance to the semifinals on Saturday, March 6 at the Catawba Valley Community College Multipurpose Facility in Hickory, N.C. The championship game will be Sunday, March 7 at 4 p.m.
2009-10 Women's Coaches Preseason Poll
Poll (1st) Points
1. Lenoir-Rhyne (8) 80
2. Carson-Newman (1) 70
3. Newberry 56
4. Tusculum 54
5. Wingate 47
6. Catawba 32
7. Lincoln Memorial 28
8. Mars Hill 25
9. Brevard 13
Women's Preseason All-Conference
Shari Buford, Carson-Newman
Ashley Kyle, Carson-Newman
Amber Holt, Lenoir-Rhyne
Denise Moore, Lenoir-Rhyne
Jasmine Gunn, Tusculum
Kurie Washington, Wingate
Samantha Winn, Brevard
Dana Hicks, Catawba
Brittany Mitch, Lenoir-Rhyne
Brittini Young, Mars Hill
Anita Bulcher, Newberry
Helen McKinney, Newberry