SPARTANBURG, S.C. - UNC Greensboro women's basketball team was picked seventh in the Southern Conference's preseason poll of the league's 11 head coaches, the conference announced Friday.
The Spartans picked up 54 points in the poll, just four back of fifth-place Western Carolina, which won the league tournament last season.
UNCG went 13-18 overall and 9-11 in the Southern Conference last season, finishing seventh in the league standings. The Spartans won their first-round game at the SoCon tournament, beating 10th-seeded Wofford, but fell to second-seeded Samford in the quarterfinals.
Four of last season's starters return for UNCG in Monique Floyd, Lakiah Hyson, Amanda Leigh and Agne Girstautaite. The lone loss is Gini Grimsley, who led the Spartans in both scoring and rebounding last year.
For the third straight season, Chattanooga was picked to win the league. The Lady Mocs, who won the regular-season title last season, picked up nine first-place votes and amassed 98 points to claim the top spot in the poll. Samford finished second with 91 points, grabbing the other two first-place votes.
College of Charleston was third with 84 points, followed by Davidson in fourth with 64. Western Carolina was next, followed by Georgia Southern (56), UNCG, Appalachian State and Furman (31 each), Elon (26) and Wofford (12).
Chattanooga's Shanara Hollinquest, who was the SoCon Player of the Year in 2008-09, was picked as the league's Preseason Player of the Year.
UNCG plays its lone exhibition of the preseason on Saturday, when it will host Catawba at 3 p.m.
While Saturday's game is just an exhibition, UNCG has met Catawba eight times in official games, but not since the 1990-91 season. UNCG is 8-0 all-time against the Lady Indians, but has not played them in an official game since moving to the Division I level. The two squads did play an exhibition contest prior to the 2006-07 season, with UNCG taking a 94-55 win. For UNCG, only Hyson and Girstautaite remain from that squad - Hyson scored one point in eight minutes, while Girstautaite had three points and three rebounds in nine minutes of action. For the Lady Indians, Brooke Whitley is the only player on Catawba's roster that saw action in that contest, as she had three points in six minutes.
UNCG opens the regular season next Saturday, Nov. 14, when it hosts Morgan State at 3 p.m. in Fleming Gym. UNCG is 19-21 all-time in season-openers, with losses to ACC schools in each of the least two seasons. UNCG last won a season-opener in 2004-05, when it topped UNC Wilmington 74-46. The Spartans won their home opener last season, dropping High Point 74-69.
Southern Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll
Team (1st Place Votes) Total Points
1. Chattanooga (9) 98
2. Samford (2) 91
3. College of Charleston 84
4. Davidson 64
5. Western Carolina 58
6. Georgia Southern 56
7. UNC Greensboro 54
T8. Appalachian State 31
T8. Furman 31
10. Elon 26
11. Wofford 12
Preseason All-Southern Conference Team
Emily Clarke, Western Carolina
Tonia Gerty, College of Charleston
Savannah Hill, Samford
Shanara Hollinquest, Chattanooga
Jade Hughes, College of Charleston
Ashley Lax, Davidson
Emily London, Samford
Lee Stephens, Furman
Alex Thompson, Davidson
Jenaya Wade-Fray, Chattanooga
SoCon Preseason Player of the Year
Shanara Hollinquest, Chattanooga
- UNCG -