High Point, NC> The Barton College women's basketball team has been voted the Conference Carolinas coaches preseason poll favorite for the upcoming 2008-09 season. Barton has played in three of the last five NCAA D-II tournaments. Head coach Wendee Saintsing, in her 20th season, returns three starters in Sara Fleming, Esty Flores, and Kendra Thomas and five others from a team that was 19-8 overall and 16-4 in league play to finish as the regular-season runner-up in Conference Carolinas.
Last season, Flores was a first-team, all-league choice, Thomas made second team and Fleming was honorable mention, so Coach Saintsing has a solid nucleus to build upon. Five guards and two posts have been added to the roster. Freshmen Jannetta Robinson, Faith Hunter and Vente Cobb should bring exciting play to the guard position for the Lady Bulldogs. Inside, junior Shamita Alston was the leading rebounding in NJCAA D-II basketball last season while Kelsey Sill, a sophomore transfer from Brevard, should add more depth at the post position. That group, along with the rest of the newcomers and returnees will hopefully make Barton a contender for Conference Carolinas supremacy...and beyond.
Belmont Abbey College comes-in tied in the second spot in the preseason coaches’ poll. The Abbey women’s basketball team is coming off of its most successful season since 2004-05, posting a 19-10 overall record and a 13-7 mark in league play. The Crusaders finished fourth in the conference standings and reached the semifinal round of the conference tournament after it was picked to finish seventh in last year’s preseason poll. The Abbey returns nine players from last year’s team and welcomes five highly-regarded newcomers.
Mount Olive College was also tied for the second place spot in the preseason poll. The Trojans are coming off the best season in school history following their first-ever Conference Carolinas tournament championship and first NCAA Tournament appearance. The Trojans return four full- or part-time starters from last year's squad, which posted a 21-11 overall and 15-5 league record.
In the frontcourt, Mount Olive brings back junior and two-time All-Conference selection Helen Moore, along with 6-0 senior forward Alisa Jones. The backcourt is anchored by seniors Tomeka Prichard and Brittney Robich, who rank first and second in school history, respectively, in career three-point shooting. The Trojans also look forward to the return of guard Meaghan Vanderhorst, who missed most of the last two seasons with a knee injury.
Anderson University finished fourth in the poll and will be under new leadership with head coach Jim Brunelli inheriting a team that was 28-4 overall and the regular season league champions with a 19-1 record in Conference Carolinas play last season
Coach Brunelli’s will have his first Anderson team built around seniors Keana Boyd and Genia Holbrook. Boyd, a first-team All-Conference Carolinas pick, led the team in scoring at 13.4 points per game. Holbrook is a rugged inside player who averaged 6.6 rebounds per game last season.
Rounding out the lady's poll 5-10 was: Queens, Limestone, Pfeiffer, Lees-McRae, Coker, Converse, St. Andrews, and Erskine respectively.
Women's Basketball Preseason Poll (# of First place votes in parenthesis)
Queens University of Charlotte