WINTER PARK, Fla. – The Barry Buccaneers will have their work cut out for them, if the 2013-14 Sunshine State Conference pre-season poll is to be believed. The Bucs are tabbed eighth in the preview.
Barry went 15-13 last season, 5-11 in the SSC, and fell in the conference quarterfinals to Nova Southeastern.
Nova Southeastern has been tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the 2013-14 Sunshine State Conference women’s basketball title.
The Sharks, who claimed just their second-ever SSC regular-season title in 2012-13, collected 62 points and seven of the nine first-place votes in a preseason poll conducted among the conference women’s basketball coaches.
Rollins, which won the 2013 SSC Tournament, was picked to finish second. The Tars received 52 points and one first-place vote. Florida Tech and Tampa both received 44 points to tie for the third slot, while Saint Leo received the final first-place vote and a total of 39 points for the fifth spot. Eckerd and Lynn tied for sixth with 28 points, while Barry (16 points) and Florida Southern (11 points) rounded out the poll. Lynn shared the 2012-13 regular-season title with the Sharks.
The Bucs, with seven letterwinners and four starters returning, are led by senior wings Tyler Hardy and Colette Eule. Hardy, a member of the SSC All-Newcomer team, averaged 11.9 points per game and led the team in rebounding at 6.8, while shooting 48.0 percent from the floor. Eule led the team in scoring at 13.4 points per game and chipped in 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, while shooting 80.0 percent from the line.
With the departure of All-American and All-SSC First Team Meixandra Porter and SSC All-Newcomer Tailor Jones, the Sharks will be led by junior guard Danielle Robinson, who was named SSC Co-Defensive Player of the Year and All-SSC Second Team a season ago, and senior forward Amanda Burakoski, who was named to the SSC All-Newcomer Team in 2013. Also returning from last year’s starting five is Jessica Russi, who led the conference in assists (165) and assists per game (5.2).
Rollins returns nine letterwinners from last year’s team that won its second SSC Tournament title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Sarah Blackburn, who was named All-SSC Second Team last season, is one of two seniors returning for the Tars.
The Division II Women’s Basketball Bulletin preseason top-25 poll was released on Oct. 8 with Nova Southeastern ranked No. 5 and Rollins ranked No. 18. In addition, Florida Tech’s Kayk Wilson was named Division II Women’s Basketball Bulletin Super 16 preseason All-American, while the Sharks’ Robinson was named preseason All-American Honorable Mention.
2013 Sunshine State Conference Preseason Women’s Basketball Poll
Rank – Team, Points (1st-place votes)
1 – Nova Southeastern, 62 (7)
2 – Rollins, 52 (1)
T3 – Florida Tech, 44
T3 – Tampa, 44
5 – Saint Leo, 39 (1)
T6 – Eckerd, 28
T6 – Lynn, 28
8 – Barry, 16
9 – Florida Southern, 11