AUGUSTA, GA -- The Lander Bearcats, defending PBC Champions, are the unanimous choice to repeat that acheivement as a poll of the league’s head coaches was released on Tuesday. The Bearcats received all 12 first-place votes they were eligible for to lead the coaches’ poll with 144 points. Clayton State received 11 second-place votes and finished with 133. Francis Marion is third in the poll with Georgia College, USC Aiken and Columbus State behind them. UNC Pembroke, North Georgia, Georgia Southwestern, Montevallo, Armstrong Atlantic State and a tie with Flagler and Augusta State round out the voting. Coaches were not permitted to rank their own teams.
Lander set a program record for wins in 2009-10, going 27-4 overall and 17-1 in conference play. The Bearcats hosted the NCAA Southeast Regional tournament for the first time in school history and were ranked #11 in the nation in the final poll of the year. Head coach Kevin Pederson returns his entire starting lineup from that team, including All-Conference standouts Shannon McKever, Brittni Johnson and Ciara Lyons.
Clayton State won the 2010 PBC Tournament title, their third conference tournament championship in six years. Ranked #22 in the final WBCA poll, the Lakers advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth straight year. Head coach Dennis Cox returns three starters from last year’s team including All-Conference forwards Teshymia Tillman and Tanisha Woodard. Seven total letterwinners from last year’s team are back this season.
Francis Marion reached the championship game of the 2010 PBC Tournament and went to the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year. The Patriots finished the season 27-5 and ranked 20th in the final WBCA poll and return eight letterwinners from last year’s team. But the biggest change was not among the players, but the departure of head coach Heather Macy for East Carolina. Kate Glusko takes over for her first season and has some weapons at her disposal including All-Conference guard Shannon Singleton-Bates and Robin Colbert, the PBC Defensive Player of the Year.
Glusko is one of four new head coaches in the Peach Belt this season. She joins Nate Teymer at Augusta State, Maurice Smith at Georgia College and Mechan Vanderpool at Montevallo.
The 2010-11 women’s basketball season begins on Nov. 12 with six league teams playing in regional challenge events. Conference play tips off on Nov. 23 and continues through to the 2011 PBC Tournament March 1, 4-6 with the semifinals and finals being hosted once again by USC Aiken.
The coaches preseason poll is listed below. A team-by-team preview can be seen here.
2010-11 Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll
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