Furman women the coaches’ SoCon pick

College Sports

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The Furman Paladins are tabbed as the preseason favorites to win the Southern Conference women’s basketball title for the 2019-20 season, according to a vote by the league’s head coaches. Wofford redshirt senior guard Chloe Wanink was named the SoCon Preseason Player of the Year. The league’s media predicted Mercer, the regular-season and tournament champion each of the last two seasons, to win the SoCon title in 2019-20.

Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams or student-athletes as part of the balloting.

Furman, which finished the 2018-19 campaign 19-14 overall and 9-5 in SoCon play, made it to the 2019 Southern Conference championship game, falling 66-63 to Mercer. The Paladins fell at Virginia Tech in the first round of the WNIT. Jackie Caron’s squad return four starters, including preseason all-conference selections Le’Jzae Davidson and Celena Taborn. Furman, which led the league in six statistical categories a season ago, picked up six of the eight possible first-place votes. The Paladins, picked second by the media, earned 48 total points from the coaches, nine ahead of Wofford, who picked up 39 points and one first-place vote. Mercer followed with 38 points and the final first-place vote in the coaches poll but picked up 99 points and eight of the 14 first-place votes from the media.

Da’Ja Green, a junior guard, joins Wanink on the preseason all-conference team for Wofford, while Mercer placed junior guard/forward Shannon Titus on the preseason all-conference squad. 

ETSU, selected fourth by the coaches, picked up 31 points. The Bucs were also tabbed fourth by the media (78). Guard Erica Haynes-Overton, the 2017-18 Freshman of the Year and back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year, was a preseason all-conference selection for the Bucs. 

UNC Greensboro, which finished last season 11-19 and 5-9 in SoCon play, came in fifth in the coaches’ poll (23) and sixth in the media poll (46). Senior guard Nadine Soliman earned a preseason all-conference spot after leading all league players with 19.1 points per game a year ago. Teammate Te’Ja Twitty, a senior guard/forward, was the second Spartan honored.

Chattanooga took sixth in the coaches poll (21) and third in the media poll (85), picking up a first-place vote from the media. Senior guard Lakelyn Bouldin and sophomore forward Eboni Williams, the 2018-19 SoCon Freshman of the Year, earned preseason all-conference nods.

Samford, under the direction of first-year head coach Carley Kuhns, took seventh in both the coaches (17) and media polls (29). Western Carolina, led by first-year head coach Kiley Hill, was picked eighth in both polls, earning seven points in the coaches poll and 19 from the media.

Six of the eight teams were represented on the 10-member SoCon preseason all-conference team, with Furman, UNCG, Chattanooga and Wofford each placing a pair on the team.

Five of the eight Southern Conference teams will take the floor on Tuesday, Nov. 5, to start the regular season, with the other three starting their 2019-20 campaigns a day later. The 2020 Ingles Southern Conference Championship presented by General Shale will be held March 5-8 at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville (formerly the U.S. Cellular Center) in Asheville, North Carolina.

2019-20 Preseason Southern Conference Coaches Poll

Team (1st-place votes)              Total

1. Furman (6)                            48

2. Wofford (1)                           39

3. Mercer (1)                             38

4. ETSU                                    31

5. UNCG                                   23

6. Chattanooga                         21

7. Samford                               17

8. Western Carolina                   7

2019-20 Preseason Player of the Year

Chloe Wanink, R-Sr., G, Wofford

2019-20 Preseason All-Southern Conference Team

Erica Haynes-Overton, Jr., G, ETSU

Le’Jzae Davidson, Sr., G, Furman

Celena Taborn, Jr., C, Furman

Shannon Titus, Jr., G/F, Mercer

Nadine Soliman, Sr., G, UNCG

Te’Ja Twitty, Sr., G/F, UNCG

Lakelyn Bouldin, Sr., G, Chattanooga

Eboni Williams, So., F, Chattanooga

Da’Ja Green, Jr., G, Wofford

Chloe Wanink, R-Sr., G, Wofford

2019-20 Preseason Southern Conference Media Poll

Team (1st-place votes)              Total

1. Mercer (8)                             99

2. Furman (5)                            90

3. Chattanooga (1)                     85

4. ETSU                                    78

5. Wofford                                58

6. UNCG                                   46

7. Samford                               29

8. Western Carolina                   19

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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