WINTER PARK, Fla.—The Barry Buccaneers are coming off a share of the league title, but got no respect in the Sunshine State Conference women’s basketball pre-season poll, released on Wednesday by the conference office.
Last year, the Bucs went 18-9, including a 12-4 mark in the SSC, to tie for first with Rollins and Florida Southern. But the Bucs lost all five starters and several key reserves for that squad and the voters took that into account.
Only three players who played in at least 20 games return for this season. Junior Colette Eule played in all 27 games a year ago and is the top returning scorer on the squad. An outstanding shooter, she connected on 33.3 percent from beyond the arc and 81.3 percent at the line. Sophomore Jackie Perez was second on the team last year in made three-pointers with 26 and her 37.1 shooting percentage was seventh in the league. Sophomore Kaley Howard averaged 4.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game as a rookie last year and was the only player, other than the five normal starters, to log at least two starts. She shot a very respectable 40.9 percent from the field.
Rollins, the SSC regular-season co-champion and tournament champion in 2011-12, picked up a total of 188 points and 13 first-place votes in the poll conducted among conference coaches and sports information directors (whose votes counted half as much as the coaches).
Nova Southeastern was tabbed second in the preseason poll and collected the remaining five first-place votes. Tampa took the third spot with 131 points. Florida Tech occupied the fourth slot with 117 points, while the other co-champs, Florida Southern, were tabbed fifth with 88 points.
The next three positions in the poll were separated by just nine points. Eckerd was projected to finish sixth with 83 points. Lynn was slated seventh with 78, followed closely by Barry in the eighth slot with 74. Saint Leo rounded out the poll, in the ninth spot.
The women open the season at the West Florida Tip-off Tournament, Nov. 9-10. They face the Georgia Southwestern Hurricanes on the 9th and the host Argonauts on the 10th.
2012-13 SUNSHINE STATE CONFERENCE PRESEASON WOMEN’S BASKETBALL POLL
Rank – Team, Points (1st Place Votes)
1 – Rollins, 188 (13)
2 – Nova Southeastern, 165 (5)
3 – Tampa, 131
4 – Florida Tech, 117
5 – Florida Southern, 88
6 – Eckerd, 83
7 – Lynn, 78
8 – Barry, 74
9 – Saint Leo, 48