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Women's Basketball Tabbed To Win OVC

Oct. 28, 2003

Southeast women's basketball has been tabbed to win the Ohio Valley Conference, as announced today at the annual OVC basketball media day and as voted upon by the league's coaches and sports information directors.

Southeast received ten first-place votes for 188 votes. Following closely behind is OVC-defending champ, Austin Peay, with 9 first-place votes for 182 points. Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee Tech claimed the final first-place votes, earning one and two first-place votes respectively. Eastern Kentucky came in third with 167 points, while Tennessee Tech trailed Eastern with 147 points for fourth place. Morehead State is a preseason pick to finish fifth (106), while Eastern Illinois (100), Tennessee-Martin (98), Jacksonville State (80), Murray State (58), Tennessee State (45) and Samford (39) round out the preseason rankings.

Senior guard Kenja White was named to the preseason All-OVC first team. White earned All-OVC honorable mention honors last season as a junior college transfer. She was also named the OVC Newcomer of the Year in its inaugural season as she recorded 21 double-digit performances. Last year she led the scoring attack for the Otahkians, averaging 13.9 points per game, ranking her ninth in the league.

 

Senior forward Carina Souza joined White in receiving pre-season honors as she was selected for the preseason All-OVC second team. Souza also earned All-OVC honorable mention honors last year after making the switch from junior college. She scored in double-digits 21 times, as she led the team and ranked fifth in the conference with a 53.1 field goal percentage.

Southeast is coming off their best performance since joining the OVC and the ranks of Division I competition 12 years ago. Last season the team posted a 19-11 overall record and an 11-5 record in the OVC. The Otahkians registered their highest-ever league finish, second in the OVC, advancing to the finals of the OVC post-season championship for the first time ever, before falling in the final game. The team fell just short of their goal of winning the OVC championship and making the NCAA tournament, but the bar has been raised and the team returns to complete some "unfinished business".

This season Southeast will be one of the most experienced squads in the conference when the ball goes up on the 2003-2004 season, as the Otahkian's return four starters among seven letterwinners. In addition, two more transfers from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Brandi Russia and Sami Jo Cotton, join former junior college teammates Kenja White, Carina Souza, and Miah Shelford, to continue their basketball careers under coach Smith.

Southeast will play two exhibition games at home before opening their season with their first appearance in the Preseason Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). The squad with host Union University on November 6 at 5:00 p.m. and St. Louis Goldstar on November 10 at 7:30 p.m. Southeast will then travel to Salt Lake City Utah on Nov. 14 to face the Utes in their first round game of the WNIT.


2003-04 OVC Women's Basketball Predicted Order of Finish
(Selected by OVC Head Basketball Coaches and Sports Information Directors)

1. Southeast Missouri (10 first-place votes) 188 2. Austin Peay (9 first-place votes) 182 3. Eastern Kentucky (1 first-place vote) 167 4. Tennessee Tech (2 first-place votes) 147 5. Morehead State 106 6. Eastern Illinois 100 7. Tennessee-Martin 98 8. Jacksonville State 80 9. Murray State 58 10. Tennessee State 45 11. Samford 39

(Schools were not allowed to rank their own team. Ten points awarded for a first-place vote, nine for second, etc.)

2003-04 OVC Preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference Women's Basketball Team (Selected by OVC Head Basketball Coaches and Sports Information Directors)

First Team Player, School Pos. Ht. Cl. Gerlonda Hardin, Austin Peay* F 6'1 Sr. Katie Kelly, Eastern Kentucky# G 5'6 Sr. Kandi Brown, Morehead State# G/F 5'11 Sr. Emily Christian, Tennessee Tech# C 6-1 So. Kenja White, Southeast Missouri% G 5'8 Sr.

OVC Preseason Player of the Year: Gerlonda Hardin, Austin Peay

Second Team Player, School Pos. Ht. Cl. Shanika Freeman, Jacksonville State F 6'1 Jr. Ashley Haynes, Austin Peay G 5'10 So. Lauren Dailey, Eastern Illinois% G 5'10 Sr. Carina Souza, Southeast Missouri% F 6'1 Sr. Miranda Eckerle, Eastern Kentucky% C 6'0 Jr. Julie Young, Tennessee-Martin F 5'11 Sr.

*- 1st team All-OVC in 2002-03 #- 2nd team All-OVC in 2002-03 %- All-OVC Honorable Mention in 2002-03

(Schools were not allowed to vote for their own players.)

 
 

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