Eastern Mennonite Tops ODAC Women's Basketball Poll

Eastern Mennonite Tops ODAC Women's Basketball Poll

Royals Receive Six First Place Votes, Quakers with Four, LC gets Pair

FOREST, Va. --- Eastern Mennonite University received six first place votes and 116 total points on its way to the top ranking in the 2013-14 ODAC Women's Basketball Preseason Poll.  Guilford College sits second after collecting 112 markers, including four top nods.  Lynchburg College garnered the remaining two first place votes and 102 tallies to place third in the annual coaches' survey.

Guilford won its fourth overall and second straight ODAC title in 2012-13, marking the ninth time a program has won consecutive crowns since the conference instituted women's basketball in 1982-83.  The Quakers secured a 61-59 win in the final seconds of regulation over Eastern Mennonite to hoist the conference hardware, but both teams continued their postseasons in the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament.

Playing at Christopher Newport University in a four-team pod, EMU took on Marymount University (Va.) and fell to the Saints, 55-42.  GC squared off with the host Captains, who topped the Quakers, 66-47, in first round action.

Unlike the conference men's ranks, ODAC women's basketball welcomes back the majority of its all-conference teams with 13-of-18 All-ODAC honorees returning to league courts in 2013-14.  Four All-ODAC First Team selections are back in tow, including forward Bianca Ygarza (9.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 60 ast) for top-ranked Eastern Mennonite University (21-7 overall, 15-1 in ODAC play in 2012-13).  Four starters and another quartet of major contributors off the bench join her on reigning ODAC Coach of the Year Kevin Griffin's roster, including All-ODAC Second Team post Shakeerah Sykes (9.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg).  Sykes led the ODAC in field goal percentage at 51.9-percent, the only player to shoot better than 50-percent from the field.  The starting backcourt of Keyla Baltimore (7.6 ppg, 91 ast), Alisa Brown (6.9 ppg, 46 stl) and Steph Rheinheimer (9.0 ppg, 61 3FG) also returns.

Guilford (24-5, 14-2) features three returning starters, including a pair of All-ODAC frontcourt standouts.  Forward Gabby Olgesby (11.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 49 blk), the 2012 ODAC Player of the Year, looks to secure her third straight first team selection.  She's joined up front by second team forward Morgan King (10.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 40 blk).  The pair combined for 16 double-doubles, including a league-leading nine for Oglesby.  Guard Kayla Adams (6.0 ppg, 73 ast) rounds out the starting trio, but occasional starter Brittany Drew (8.1 ppg) and Logan Hardin (5.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg) add depth off the bench.

Lynchburg (18-10, 10-6) tied the program-record of 18 wins in 2012-13, an improvement of nine games over the previous season.  Head coach Abby Pyzik has all five starters back as they look to up the ante yet again.  That contingent includes first team forward Shannon Allan (17.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 41 blk), who posted the most overall points (502) and led the ODAC in free throw shooting (88.45).  Forward Lauren Penley (9.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg) was an All-ODAC Third Team choice last season.  Guards Sammi Goldsmith (6.7 ppg, 68 ast) and Katie Reeves (6.1 ppg, 57 ast) and forward Caleigh Patterson (3.4 ppg) also return to the starting five.

Virginia Wesleyan College (18-9, 12-4) features three eight-plus point scorers amongst its four returning starters, including third team guard Brittany Glasco (9.1 ppg, 76 ast, 59 stl).  Forward Andrea Paphites (8.3 ppg) enjoyed a solid first season in a Marlins' uniform, while post Nancy Kelly (8.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg) adds a presence down on the blocks.

Like LC, Randolph-Macon College's (6-21, 4-12) list of five returning starters includes a pair of all-conference performers.  Guard Sarah Parson (14.4 ppg, 47 stl) picked up her second straight nod to the second team, while forward Katie Anderson (14.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg) earned a spot on the third team in addition to being named the ODAC Rookie of the Year.  Classmate Hannah Livermon (9.5 ppg, .804 FT%) cashed in 58 three-pointers in her first year as a Yellow Jacket.

Bridgewater College (14-11, 11-5) and Roanoke College (10-16, 6-10), separated by just two points in the preseason poll, combine to return seven starters.  Guards Holly Morgan (9.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg), a third team choice in 2013, and Cassidy Burkholder (6.8 ppg, 65 stl, 63 ast) lead the Eagles, while first team forward Paxton Gwin (15.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 20 blk) and 27 combined points per game by Lauren Hankins (9.4 ppg), Kelsey Smith (8.0 ppg) and Tatum McKee (9.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 67 stl) lead the Maroons.  RC mentor Susan Dunagan enters the her 33rd season two wins shy of 600 for her career, a list that currently includes just 45 coaches from NCAA Division I, II and III.

Shenandoah University (12-15, 7-9) enjoyed a solid inaugural season in the ODAC, winning its first round tournament matchup before bowing out in the quarterfinals.  Second-year coach C.K. Calhoun has three starters back in Winchester, including third team guard Holly Chittenden (10.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 48 stl) and leading scorer Crystal Petrus (11.1 ppg, 50 3FG).  Chittenden tied for second in the ODAC with eight double-doubles.

Just one point separates Emory & Henry College (7-18, 4-12) and Randolph College (5-21, 3-13) in the poll.  The Wasps look to third team forward Karina Farr (10.5 ppg), who led the ODAC in rebounding (9.7 rpg) and tied for second with eight double-doubles.  Guard Kristie Langley (10.2 ppg) leads on the perimeter.  The WildCats look to second-year shooters Emilee Dunton (9.7 ppg, 83 ast) and Abigail Bullins (9.4 ppg, 50 ast), who combined to make 109 three-pointers.

Both Washington and Lee University (9-16, 6-10) and Hollins University (9-17, 4-12) have major contributors to replace.  The Generals welcome back starting guards Paige Corvino (5.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg) and Annie Gauf (4.5 ppg, 86 ast), as well as Alena Hamrick (9.2 ppg) off the bench.  Hollins features starting forwards Chanci Wright (7.8 ppg 106 oreb) and Ella Oakley (3.3 ppg).  Wright led the ODAC in total rebounds (244) and was second in rebounding average (9.4), posting six double-doubles.

Listed below is the full 2013-14 ODAC Women's Basketball Preseason Poll.  For more information on ODAC women's basketball, visit any of the participating school's websites, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com and view the women's basketball virtual media guide.

Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook.  You can also follow the ODAC on Twitter @odacathletics.  Be sure to check out the ODAC's YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/ODAC1976) and watch an interview with each of the ODAC's head men's basketball coaches as they talk about their programs from media day in Salem (videos not live --- to be added after the event).

(#) Denotes First Place Votes

1. Eastern Mennonite (6) 116 pts.
2. Guilford (4) 112 pts.
3. Lynchburg (2) 102 pts.
4. Virginia Wesleyan 87 pts.
5. Randolph-Macon 77 pts.
6. Bridgewater 67 pts.
7. Roanoke 65 pts.
8. Shenandoah 58 pts.
9. Emory & Henry 34 pts.
10. Randolph 33 pts.
11. Washington and Lee 23 pts.
12. Hollins 18 pts.