Lady Chanticleers selected seventh in Big South poll

The 2012-13 Coastal Carolina women’s basketball team is the preseason seventh-place pick in a poll of Big South head coaches and media members, according to an announcement on Tuesday at the annual Big South Basketball media day in Charlotte, N.C.

Liberty was the preseason choice to defend its league title, garnering 233 points and 16 of the possible 22 first-place votes. 2012 Big South Tournament runner-up High Point was second with 215 total points and recorded four first place votes.

Winthrop (199) was voted third and held the two remaining first place votes. Campbell (159) and Radford (154) earned the fourth- and fifth-place positions, respectively. Charleston Southern (136), Coastal (92), Presbyterian College (91), Gardner-Webb (62), UNC Asheville (60) and conference newcomer Longwood (51) rounded out the poll.

Winthrop’s Dequesha McClanahan, who was named the Big South Player of the Year last season, was tabbed as the Preseason Player of the Year. Joining McClanahan on the Preseason All-Big South team are Liberty’s Devon Brown, High Point’s Erin Reynolds and Cheyenne Parker, and Radford’s Da’Naria Erwin-Spencer.

“Our preseason ranking is about where I thought we would be based on the talent we have returning and what the personnel the rest of the league has returning,” said head coach Alan LeForce. “However, we are capable of surpassing that seventh-place ranking and possibly surprising some people if we play to our potential.”

The Chanticleers return eight letter winners from last season’s squad, including Big South All-Freshman Team performer Shatia Cole. Cole averaged an impressive 10.5 points per game to finish second on the team behind Olivia Irick, who graduated in May. Cole also tied the CCU record with four Big South Freshman of the Week honors.

Also returning to the starting lineup for the Chants are sophomore AJ Jordan and junior Angelica Henry.  Jordan and Henry split time as the two guard last season with Henry finishing her campaign with 6.6 points per outing and Jordan with 5.4. Jordan also led Coastal with .850 clip from the line.

Although Coastal will be a young team this season with no seniors on the roster, the squad has plenty of experience. The eight returners have a combined 240 games played and 35 starts.

Coastal will also rely on its defense this season as the Chanticleer were statistically one of the best defensive teams in the conference last year, ranking in the top five in field goal percentage defense, blocked shots and defensive rebounds.

Coastal opens its season on Friday, Nov. 9 at College of Charleston before playing its inaugural game in The HTC Center on Monday, Nov. 12 against North Carolina Central. The Chants will play their first conference game on Dec. 1 on the road against Gardner-Webb. Coastal hosts the 2013 VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Basketball Championship at The HTC Center from March 6-10.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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