EL PASO, TEXAS – The UTEP women’s basketball team has been pegged to finish fourth in Conference USA this year, according to the preseason poll that was revealed by the league office Wednesday morning.
The league’s head coaches selected Middle Tennessee, which won both the 2014 C-USA regular season and tournament championship, as the favorite. C-USA newcomer WKU, which won the Sun Belt and competed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, was tabbed second.
2014 WNIT participant Southern Miss was predicted third followed by the Miners, who enjoyed a banner 2013-14 season while making a run to finals of the 2014 WNIT. Charlotte (fifth), Old Dominion (sixth), Louisiana Tech (seventh), UAB (eight), North Texas (tied ninth), UTSA (tied ninth), FIU, (11th), Rice (12th), Florida Atlantic (13th) and Marshall (14th) rounded out the 14-team prediction.
Middle Tennessee picked up six first-place votes while WKU had five. Southern Miss, UTEP and UTSA each received one vote.
"Preseason polls are fun for the fans to talk about but my focus is on preparing my team for this season,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “Conference USA play will be extremely competitive from top to bottom. We will need to bring it and be ready to compete for a full 40 minutes every time out. We have a lot of work to do and I'm excited about the opportunity to teach this group."
WKU’s Chastity Gooch was voted as the C-USA Preseason Player of the Year. She was joined on the Preseason All C-USA Team by Lefty Webster (Charlotte), Whitney Frazier (Louisiana Tech), Olivia Jones (Middle Tennessee), Tamara Jones (Southern Miss), Chelsee Black (UAB), Alexis Govan (WKU) and Kendall Noble (WKU).
The Miners started preparations for the 2014-15 season by holding their first official practice on Oct. 6. UTEP will face St. Mary’s in an exhibition contest on Nov. 7 before tipping off its campaign in earnest with the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10 against New Mexico State on Nov. 14.
Season tickets for the 2014-15 season continue to be available for purchase. Fans may call (915) 747-6150 or e-mail email@example.com to secure theirs today. For the first time in program history the reserved floor seats are sold out but fans may purchase a general admission season ticket for only $60. Another option is the “Family Pack” (2 adults, 2 youth, ages 2-12) for just $150.
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2014-15 Preseason C-USA Women’s Basketball Poll
1. Middle Tennessee (6) – 181 points
2. WKU (5) – 179 points
3. Southern Miss (1) – 163 points
4. UTEP (1) – 154 points
5. Charlotte – 132 points
6. Old Dominion – 116 points
7. Louisiana Tech – 105 points
8. UAB – 104 points
t9. North Texas – 70 points
t9. UTSA (1) – 70 points
11. FIU – 61 points
12. Rice – 58 points
13. Florida Atlantic – 45 points
14. Marshall – 32 points
(#) – designates first-place votes
Preseason Player of the Year
Chastity Gooch, WKU
2014-15 Preseason All-Conference USA Women’s Basketball Team
Lefty Webster, Charlotte, So., G, Norfolk, Virginia
Whitney Frazier, Louisiana Tech, Sr., F, El Dorado, Arkansas
Olivia Jones, Middle Tennessee, So., G/F, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Tamara Jones, Southern Miss, Sr., F, Prosser, Washington
Chelsee Black, UAB, Jr., G, Bessemer, Alabama
Chastity Gooch, WKU, Sr., F, Franklin, Kentucky
Alexis Govan, WKU, Sr., G/F, San Antonio
Kendall Noble, WKU, RS So., G, Hazard, Kentucky