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Lady Bisons selected sixth in preseason poll

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

MACON, Ga. - With conference basketball teams set to open practice in the coming days in preparation for the 2008-09 campaign, the Atlantic Sun Conference announced the results of its annual preseason women's basketball poll Wednesday afternoon. League coaches and media both selected ETSU to capture its second consecutive conference title. Kennesaw State senior forward Britteny Henderson, the 2008 Atlantic Sun Player of the Year, earned the same honor for the 2008-09 preseason.

ETSU garnered six first-place votes and 124 points in the coach’s poll to beat out Kennesaw State, which received four first-place nods and totaled 106 points. The Owls barely edged Jacksonville which received one first-place vote and 105 points. 2007 conference champion Belmont tallied 79 points, checking in at fourth position, and FGCU rounded out the top-five with 73 points.

On the media side ETSU received 12 first-place votes for 249 points, finishing ahead of Jacksonville and Kennesaw State which finished tied for second with 230 points. The Dolphins and Owls collected six and eight first-place votes, respectively. Belmont and FGCU also finished off the top-five in the media poll with 177 and 161 points, respectively. The Eagles also collected a pair of first-place votes after their second-place conference finish in 2008, their first season as a Division I member. FGCU capped its stellar inaugural season with a trip to the second-round of the WNIT.

Henderson, a 2007-08 first-team All-Atlantic Sun selection, averaged 14.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest a year ago, while also shooting 55 percent from the floor. The Owls finished tied with Jacksonville for third-place in the league, notching their best A-Sun finish ever. A pair of 2008 first-team performers join her on the preseason all-conference team in ETSU junior Siarre Evans and Jacksonville senior Virginia Gregoire. Evans led the Lady Bucs with 13.4 points and 7.1 rebounds last season, and Gregoire is the top returning scorer (13.3 ppg) and rebounder (5.9 rpg) for a Jacksonville team that made its first-ever appearance in the A-Sun championship game last season. All three players were unanimously selected to the team as well.

USC Upstate guard Courtney Hawkins and Belmont post player Jessica Bobbitt round out the preseason squad. Hawkins led the league in scoring last season, averaging 16.4 points per game in her first season against Division I competition. Bobbitt is the Bruins’ top-returning point producer after averaging 11.3 points per contest a season ago.

The 2008-09 women’s basketball season tips off Friday, November 14 with five of the A-Sun’s 11 teams in action, including a rematch of 2008’s second-round NIT match-up between FGCU and Florida. The Gators travel to FGCU for the marquee match-up.

The Atlantic Sun Conference is an 11-member league committed to Building Winners for Life, with a focus on academic and athletic integrity and a balance between the two for the student-athlete, and maintaining a high level of sportsmanship. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun encompasses six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun consists of some of the most dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University

2008 Women's Basketball A-Sun Preseason Coaches Poll
# School (1st Place Vote) Points
1. ETSU (6) 124
2. Kennesaw State (4) 106
3. Jacksonville (1) 105
4. Belmont 79
5. Florida Gulf Coast 73
6. Lipscomb 50
7. North Florida 48
T8. Campbell 46
T8. Mercer 46
10. Stetson 33
11. USC Upstate 28

Tournament Champion: ETSU

2008 A-Sun Preseason All-Conference Team
Pos. Player (Yr.) School
G * Siarre Evans (Jr.) ETSU
G * Virginia Gregoire (Sr.) Jacksonville
G Courtney Hawkins (Jr.) USC Upstate
P Jessica Hawkins (Jr.) Belmont
F * Britteny Henderson (Sr.) Kennesaw State/td>

(* - Unanimous Selection)
Preseason Player of the Year: Britteny Henderson, Forward, Kennesaw State

2008 Women's Basketball A-Sun Preseason Media Poll
# School (1st Place Vote) Points
1. ETSU (12) 249
T2. Jacksonville (6) 230
T2. Kennesaw State (8) 230
4. Belmont 177
5. Florida Gulf Coast (2) 161
6. Campbell 108
7. Lipscomb 105
T8. Mercer 96
T8. North Florida 96
10. Stetson 90
11. USC Upstate 48

Tournament Champion: ETSU