CHATTANOOGA (UTC) -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team is the preseason pick of both Southern Conference coaches and media to defend its league title.
In the coaches' poll, the Lady Mocs received nine of the ten first place votes while 15 members of the media tabbed Chattanooga to win it all in voting released Wednesday.
Seniors Ashlen Dewart and Taylor Hall were selected to the Preseason All-Conference team, while Dewart was tabbed as Preseason Player of the Year.
The Lady Mocs will be under the direction of first-year head coach Jim Foster who takes over from the 2012-13 SoCon Coach of the Year Wes Moore who departed Chattanooga for NC State last spring. Foster, who spent the last 11 seasons at Ohio State, was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame this past summer and boasts an overall record of 783-307 (.718). He inherits a team that features 10 returning letterwinners including six seniors.
Dewart, an all-conference performer, was selected the 2013 Southern Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player and was joined on the tournament's first team by Hall. Dewart led the league last season in field goal percentage making 53 percent of her shots and was fifth in the SoCon in scoring and eighth in rebounding. She is a two-time All-Conference performer and was named to the league's all-freshman team in her rookie year at Appalachian State.
Hall, an all-conference performer last year, led the Lady Mocs to an historic win over 20th-ranked Tennessee in the season-opener last year with 24 points, nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocked shots. She was named the College Sports Madness Mid-Major Player of the Week for her performance. Hall ranked among the top shooters and rebounders in the conference last season and was a preseason selection last year.
Chattanooga received nine first place votes in the coaches' poll with 90 points for first place while Samford picked up the remaining vote and finished second in the poll with 77 points. Davidson, who finished second last season was third with 70 points. Appalachian State received 60 points placing fourth in the poll followed by Elon, Furman and UNCG. Georgia Southern finished eighth in the voting with Western Carolina and Wofford rounding out the poll. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team or players.
The only other team with two members on the 10-person squad was Samford with Shelby Campbell and Taylor Reece. Appalachian State's Maryah Sydnor, Davidson's Laura Murray and Elon's Kelsey Harris were selected along with Brittany Hodges from Furman, Georgia Southern's MiMi DuBose and UNCG's Lucy Mason.
In the media poll, UTC received 15 first place votes and 159 points followed by Samford with the remaining top-place vote and 131 points. Davidson, Appalachian State, Elon and Furman rounded out the top six, reflecting the coaches poll. Georgia Southern was picked seventh by the media followed by Western Carolina, UNCG and Wofford.
The Lady Mocs open the 2013-14 season Friday, November 8 against Alabama at the McKenzie Arena.
2013-14 SoCon Women's Basketball Coaches Preseason Poll
1. Chattanooga (9) 90
2. Samford (1) 77
3. Davidson 70
4. Appalachian State 60
5. Elon 59
6. Furman 50
7. UNCG 42
8. Georgia Southern 40
9. Western Carolina 33
10. Wofford 19
2013-14 SoCon Women's Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team
Maryah Sydnor, Appalachian State
Laura Murray, Davidson
Kelsey Harris, Elon
Brittany Hodges, Furman
MiMi Dubose, Georgia Southern
Lucy Mason, UNCG
Shelby Campbell, Samford
Taylor Reece, Samford
Ashlen Dewart, Chattanooga
Taylor Hall, Chattanooga
SoCon Women's Basketball Preseason Player of the Year
Ashlen Dewart, Chattanooga
2013-14 SoCon Women's Basketball Media Preseason Poll
1.Chattanooga (15) 159
2.Samford (1) 131
3. Davidson 120
4. Appalachian State 116
5. Elon 94
6. Furman 76
7. Georgia Southern 63
8. Western Carolina 52
9. UNCG 48
10. Wofford 20
Information provided by UTC Sports Media Relations and GoMocs.com.