Carson-Newman Women’s Basketball Picked To Finish Second In South Atlantic Conference Play This Season

ROCK HILL, S.C. – Carson-Newman College has been selected to finish second in the 2009-10 South Atlantic Conference season by the league’s nine coaches, SAC officials announced Wednesday. The Lady Eagles received 70 of a possible 81 points with one first-place vote.

C-N brings back its top three scorers from last year's team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Ashley Kyle (Jefferson City, Tenn.) 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 (Hampton, Ga.), a two-time All-SAC selection who led the nation in field goal percentage last season and is a preseason honorable mention All-American.

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.

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
School (FPV) 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
FIRST TEAM
Shari Buford, Carson-Newman
Ashley Kyle, Carson-Newman

Amber Holt, Lenoir-Rhyne
Denise Moore, Lenoir-Rhyne
Jasmine Gunn, Tusculum
Kurie Washington, Wingate

SECOND TEAM
Samantha Winn, Brevard
Dana Hicks, Catawba
Brittany Mitch, Lenoir-Rhyne
Brittini Young, Mars Hill
Anita Bulcher, Newberry
Helen McKinney, Newberry