– The North Georgia women’s basketball team has been
picked to finish ninth in the Peach Belt Conference in 2009-10,
according to a poll voted on by the league’s head coaches the
conference office announced Thursday afternoon.
Clayton State received seven of the possible 12 first-place votes, just edging out defending PBC Champion Francis Marion as the preseason favorite to capture the regular season title. Lander was third, followed by a tie between GCSU and Columbus State for fourth. North Georgia was ninth, receiving 53 total points, as the Lady Saints were voted as high as sixth, and as low as 11th in the poll.
The Lady Saints will have a new look in 2009-10 as the team will feature just six returning players and two starters from last season. After the graduation of four-time PBC All-Conference performer and All-American Syretha Marble, head coach Buffie will start a new era in Dahlonega, looking to 2009 Peach Belt All-Conference selection Whitney Randolph to lead the offense.
Coming off a season that saw her average 13.0 points per game, Randolph will be looked to as the cornerstone to the offense, while center Sarah Stinson will look to build off late-season success last year and control the middle. Stinson was solid on the defensive end, recording a team-high 47 blocks, while pulling down nearly 130 rebounds in 28 games.
The backcourt will be up for grabs in 2010, as a handful of guards will fight for playing time. Danielle Seeley and Alyssa Stokes shared time at point guard last season, combining to average nearly 10 points per game, while dishing out 273 assists between the two players.
A freshman from Coosa High School, Ieshia Alexander will also look to make a splash at the guard position, while standout Janyce Ealey will likely make in immediate impact after winning a state championship at Carrollton High School and averaging 17.0 points per game in the process.
Returners Meredith Montgomery and Kari McCann played limited minutes in 2009, but turned in clutch performances down the stretch, and both knocked down key shots from behind the arc throughout the season.
The Lady Saints will open the 2009-10 season with five straight home games, including contests against Newberry, Rollins, and Kentucky Wesleyan.
The Peach Belt Conference will undergo several changes for the 2009-10 season, the foremost of which is a return to division play. With the additions of Flagler College and the University of Montevallo, the PBC will be split into east and west divisions. In the east will be Augusta State, USC Aiken, Lander, Flagler, Armstrong Atlantic, Francis Marion and UNC Pembroke while the west will have Montevallo, Columbus State, Georgia Southwestern, GCSU, Clayton State and North Georgia.
The Lady Saints begin their regular season on November 16, and continues through the 2010 PBC Tournament. The tournament format has changed with only the top four teams in each division advancing to a first-round game on the campus of the higher seed. The final four will then convene in Aiken, S.C., March 6-7, 2010.
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