Eagles Get Top Nod in #ASunWBB Preseason Poll

Thursday, October 17, 2013

MACON, Ga. - Student-athletes from seven different Atlantic Sun teams represent the 2013-14 Women's Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team with FGCU's Sarah Hansen highlighting the team as the Preseason Player of the Year, while Stetson's Sasha Sims was selected as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

The Eagles landed the top spot in both the A-Sun Coaches Poll and the media poll with seven first-place votes from the coaches for 97 points. Joining Hansen on the all-conference selection is the Eagles sophomore Whitney Knight.

FGCU has won three consecutive A-Sun regular-season titles and before the 2013 A-Sun Championship final had collected 41 consecutive victories against conference foes.

Sims earned a preseason all-conference spot with the Hatters coming in at No. 2 in the both polls after their run to the A-Sun Championship title last year. Sims boasted a team-high 13 points vs. UCLA in the NCAA Tournament.

Mercer had a turn-around 2012-13 season to earn No. 3 in both polls. The Bears posted the most players on the preseason team with Kendra Grant, Precious Bridges and Briana Williams making the squad. Last year, the Bears recorded their first 20-win season since the 1991-1992 season.

Northern Kentucky was welcomed as the fourth-place team in both polls with Kayla Thacker making her mark on the preseason all-conference team.

The fifth-place through eighth-place spots in the league are a toss up as ETSU and North Florida tied for fifth in the coaches poll with the Buccaneers' Destiny Mitchell taking a spot on the ten-person preseason team. The Bucs came in seventh in the media poll, while the Ospreys beat them out to land in sixth-place.

Jacksonville came in seventh in the coaches poll and eighth in the media poll. JU's star and 2012-13 A-Sun Freshman of the Year Queen Alford made the preseason all-conference list.

USC Upstate collected the eighth-place spot in the coaches poll and a fifth-place bid in the media poll with Brittany Starling earning a spot on the all-conference selection. Kennesaw State and Lipscomb rounded off the polls in the ninth and tenth spots in the ranks.

For the third-straight season, the A-Sun had the fans participate in the Preseason All-Conference awards for the Preseason Player and Defensive Player of the Year. FGCU's Sarah Hansen collected the most votes from the fans as the Preseason Fan-Voted Player of the Year, while teammate DyTiesha Dunson was tabbed the Fan-Voted Defensive Player of the Year.

Preseason All-Conference Player Notes:
• Sarah Hansen: Registered seven double-doubles and eight 20+ point performances last season
• Queen Alford: Led all A-Sun freshmen in scoring in the 2012-13 season with 11.6 points per game
• Kendra Grant: Marked a career-high 27 points vs. McNeese State in the postseason WBI
• Sasha Sims: Second in the A-Sun in blocks (53) last year. Tallied 13 points vs. UCLA in the NCAA Tournament
• Destiny Mitchell: Earned 25 career double-double games with the Buccaneers
• Whitney Knight: As a freshman in 2011-12, averaged 1.7 blocks per game; No. 2 in the A-Sun
• Briana Williams: Led the A-Sun and ranked No. 46 in the nation in scoring with 17.5 points per game in 2011-12
• Precious Bridges: Collected six-consecutive 20+ point games in January; led the A-Sun in scoring (16.8)
• Kayla Thacker: Registered 47 steals, 22 blocked shots and 51 assists for the Norse in the 2012-13 season
• Brittany Starling: Led the Spartans in scoring (10.3) and rebounding (6.3) as a freshman last year

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