Women's Basketball Ranked #6 in Conference Preseason Poll

Women's Basketball Ranked #6 in Conference Preseason Poll

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The 2018-19 Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball preseason poll has been released. Limestone College will enter the season as the favorite to win the Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball Championship, according to Conference Carolinas coaches. Emmanuel ranks #6 on the list. 

 

1. Limestone College: The Saints earned five first-place votes and 94 points from Conference coaches to enter the year as the season favorite.

Limestone found itself in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship field for the seventh straight season in 2017-18 after posting a 23-6 overall record and an 18-2 Conference Carolinas mark. The Saints also captured their seventh-straight Conference Carolinas regular season title last season and will look to make it eight straight in 2018-19.

Limestone returns no all-conference selections, but its championship pedigree should be all it needs to make a run for another Conference Carolinas championship.

Players to Watch:

  • Schekinah Bimpa (Jr.) - Center
  • Taylour Hunter (Sr.) - Guard
  • Jayla Morrow (Jr.) - Guard

 

2. Barton College: The Bulldogs enter the season with 89 points and four first-place votes from Conference coaches.

Barton punched a ticket to the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Championship after capturing the 2017-18 Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball Championship crown. The Bulldogs finished the season with a 23-9 overall record and 15-5 Conference mark.

Barton returns two of the best players in the conference in Kianna Wynn and Shanika Peterkin. Wynn, a 2017-18 all-conference pick, averaged 17.7 points and nine rebounds per game and earned MVP honors during Barton's championship run. Peterkin, the 2017-18 Defensive Player of the Year, averaged a league-best 4.3 blocks per game to go with 8.9 rebounds, 5.3 points, 1.8 steals and 1.2 assists per game.

Wynn is poised to have another stellar season for Barton, but it will be hard to stop the Bulldogs if Peterkin takes a jump in her offensive production and continues her defensive prowess. Don't be surprised if the Bulldogs are holding another trophy at the end of the 2018-19 season.

Players to Watch:

  • Shanika Peterkin (So.) - Center
  • *Kianna Wynn (Sr.) - Forward

 

3. King University: The Tornado enter this season ranked third with 81 points and one first-place vote from Conference coaches.

King ended last season 17-13 overall and 12-8 in Conference play. The Tornado finished runner-up in the Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball Championship and should be a favorite to make it back to the title game in 2018-19.

Back for King is all-conference pick Kori West and all-tournament pick Kristen Cupples to lead the team. West averaged a double-double of 12.5 points and 10.6 rebounds to go along with 1.2 assists and one block per game. Cupples averaged 10.9 points, 4.6 assists and 1.4 assists per game and hit 71 three-pointers last season.

King is always a tough out come tournament time and with a seasoned team back, it does not seem like things will change in the 2018-19 season.

Players to Watch:

  • Kristen Cupples (Sr.) - Guard
  • Ali Golden (So.) - Guard
  • *Kori West (Jr.) - Center

 

4. Belmont Abbey College: The Crusaders are ranked fourth with 77 points and the last first-place vote from Conference coaches.

Belmont Abbey finished last season 19-9 overall and 16-4 in league play. The Crusaders are the only team with multiple all-conference picks back in 2018-19, which makes them a true force to be reckon with.

Leading the team will be reigning Freshman of the Year and all-conference pick Maria Kuhlman, who averaged 13.6 points, four rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Allie Downing, also an all-conference pick, averaged 12.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.

The duo will be the driving force behind Belmont Abbey's success this season and very well could lead the team to a championship by the end of the 2018-19 season.

Players to Watch:

  • *Allie Downing (So.) - Forward
  • *Maria Kuhlman (So.) - Forward
  • Hannah Roney (So.) - Guard

 

5. University of Mount Olive: The Trojans tallied 65 points and are fifth-place to open the season.

Mount Olive finished last season by going 12-17 overall and an even 10-10 in Conference Carolinas play. The Trojans returns the reigning Player of the Year for her senior season in Felecity Havens.

Havens averaged a league-best 24.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, two assists and 1.9 steals per game. Jada Bacchus, who averaged 8.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, will be another major contributor for Mount Olive during the 2018-19 season.

The Trojans will be looking to take a leap in the league standings this season and Havens and Bacchus could be just the push they need.

Players to Watch:

  • Jada Bacchus (Sr.) - Guard
  • *Felecity Havens (Sr.) - Guard/Forward

 

6. Emmanuel College: In their Conference Carolinas preseason poll debut, the Lions tallied 51 points and sit in sixth-place to open the year.

Emmanuel went 18-12 overall and posted a 10-10 Conference mark. Taylor Delasbour and Lochlain Corliss will be the leaders of the Lions this season.

Corliss was a do-it-all player for Emmanuel last season, averaging 8.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, four assists and 1.9 steals per game. Delasbour averaged 11 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.

If the Lions duplicate their success from the last few years, they will be dancing into postseason play during their first year of eligibility in 2018-19. 

Players to Watch:

 

7. North Greenville University: The Crusaders posted 47 points from Conference coaches to enter the year in seventh-place.

North Greenville turned in an 8-22 overall record and 6-14 Conference Carolinas mark. The Crusaders would make a run to the semifinals of the Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball Championship in 2017-18.

Karen Donahew, an all-conference selection, averaged 18.9 points, seven rebounds and 2.8 assists per game and will be the Crusaders' most important piece during 2018-19. Bailey Breazeale averaged 6.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game and will be another major contributor for NGU this season.

Players to Watch:

  • Bailey Breazeale (So.) - Forward
  • *Karen Donahew (Jr.) - Forward

 

8. Lees-McRae College: The Bobcats collected 37 points from Conference coaches and enter the season ranked eighth.

Lees-McRae finished 10-17 overall and 7-13 in Conference play a season ago. The Bobcats return one of the best backcourts in the league with Markia Stacey and Brea Forbes.

Stacey, an all-conference pick, averaged a league-best 5.9 assists to go along with 11 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game. Forbes was a force herself, averaging a league-high 2.5 steals to go with 11.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.

The guard duo of Forbes and Stacey paired with sophomore forward Meg Crawford (5.5 rpg, 2 bpg) should have the Bobcats making some noise in Conference Carolinas this season.

Players to Watch:

  • Meg Crawford (So.) - Forward
  • Brea Forbes (Sr.) - Guard
  • *Markia Stacey (Sr.) - Guard

 

9. Erskine College: The Flying Fleet posted 24 points from Conference coaches to enter the season ranked ninth.

Erskine went 8-20 overall in 2017-18, which included a 6-14 league record. Despite its under .500 record, the Flying Fleet still made a run to the semifinals of the Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball Championship.

Alexis Scott, an all-conference pick, averaged 11.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game and is back for her junior campaign. Megan Davis averaged 13.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game for the Fleet last season.

Davis and Scott will be the catalyst behind Erskine's success in 2018-19 and possible run back to the semifinals of the Conference Championship.

Players to Watch:

  • Megan Davis (Sr.) - Guard
  • Cheyenne Matson (Jr.) - Guard
  • *Alexis Scott (Jr.) - Center

 

10. Southern Wesleyan University: The Warriors check in at 10th with 21 points from Conference coaches.

Southern Wesleyan went 6-20 overall and 5-15 in Conference Carolinas play during the 2017-18 season. The guard trio of Breanna RichardsonJessica Sparks and Aneysa Williams will lead the Warriors this season.

Sparks averaged 12.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game to lead SWU last season. Williams averaged 9.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, while Richardson averaged 9.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and three assists per game last season.

The Warriors will try to improve in the standings to make the conference tournament in 2018-19, so the guard trio of Richardson, Sparks and Williams will each need to have breakout seasons to accomplish that task.

Players to Watch:

  • Breanna Richardson (Jr.) - Guard
  • Jessica Sparks (Jr.) - Guard
  • Aneysa Williams (Sr.) - Guard

 

11. Converse College: The Valkyries round out the preseason poll in 11th with 19 points from Conference coaches.

Converse went 9-19 overall and 5-15 in Conference play during the 2017-18 season. Abigail Lewis, who averaged 12.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game last season, could be a major contributor in the Valkyries punching their ticket to the conference tournament by season's end.

Players to Watch:

  • Nigeria Davis (So.) - Forward
  • Dominique Hill (Jr.) - Guard
  • Abigail Lewis (Sr.) - Forward


*denotes 2017-18 All-Conference Carolinas selection

 

2018-19 Women's Basketball Preseason Poll

School (first-place votes) Total
1. Limestone (5) 94
2. Barton (4) 89
3. King (1) 81
4. Belmont Abbey (1) 77
5. Mount Olive 65
6. Emmanuel 51
7. North Greenville 47
8. Lees-McRae 37
9. Erskine 24
10. Southern Wesleyan 21
11. Converse 19