Women's Basketball slated to win SSAC East, voted 2nd overall
By Matt Green
NORCROSS, Ga. -- The Shorter University women's basketball team has been predicted to finish first in the Southern States Athletic Conference East Division and second overall in the conference according to the league's preseason coaches' poll released late Tuesday night.
The Lady Hawks, ranked No. 21 in the NAIA Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Top 25 Poll, collected five first place votes and 46 points to finish just ahead of defending East Division champion Lee University (45) for the top spot in the East Division poll. Both Shorter and Lee picked up six first place votes in the overall conference ratings with Lee edging the Lady Hawks by three points for the No. 1 position.
Lee (184 points) and Shorter (181) appear ahead of Belhaven (173), Southern Poly (152) and Loyola (145) to make up the top five predicted finishers in the league.
Shorter, which has won at least 20 games in four straight seasons, returns seven seniors from last year's 24-8 squad that made a second straight appearance in the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship. The Lady Hawks finished 13-3 in the conference last season.
NAIA All-Americans and seniors Kelly Ellison and Damisha Moore return to the lineup and headline a deep and talented roster for 22nd-year head coach Vic Mitchell.
Ellison, a two-time All-America selection that was named the SSAC's Female Honor Student-Athlete of Year in 2010-11, averaged 10.3 points a year ago and ranked fifth in the country in assists at 5.4 per game. Ellison needs just 86 assists to become Shorter's all-time leader and with 330 points, would reach 1,000 points in just three seasons with the Lady Hawks after transferring to Shorter from NCAA Division I Stetson University prior to her sophomore year.
Moore, a transfer from the University of Miami where she played two seasons, led Shorter in scoring in 2010-11 at 10.4 points a game and also paced the Lady Hawks in rebounding (6.4). The Cartersville, Ga., native led Shorter with two double-doubles and shot 50 percent from the floor and 44 percent from three.
Junior forward Shelby Farrer, the SSAC Freshman of the Year in 2009-10, returns after putting up 8.3 points and 4.5 rebounds a game in her sophomore season and senior Robyn Foster, a transfer from Roane State Community College, averaged 7.3 points and 2.3 assists per game last year.
The Lady Hawks open the 2011-12 season next Tuesday, Nov. 8 when they play host to the College of Coastal Georgia at the Winthrop-King Centre at 6 pm.
This year's SSAC Tournament will feature the top five teams from each division and will again be held at The Forum in Downtown Rome from February 29 to March 3.
2011-12 SSAC Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll
2011-12 SSAC Women's Basketball Preseason East Division Coaches' Poll