SPARTANBURG, S.C. (gomocs.com) --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team was selected to finish first in the Southern Conference Coaches and Media Polls the league office announced today. Sophomore point guard Chelsey Shumpert (Paducah, Ky.) was selected to the coaches preseason all-conference team.
Shumpert took over starting duties against Colorado State in the final game of the University of Hawai'i Paradise Classic in December and led Chattanooga on a 25-game win streak, the third longest in school history. She ranked third on the team in scoring with 6.9 points per game and dished out 54 assists.
She tallied a career night at Samford late in the season with 17 points and seven rebounds. She was 6-of-11 from the field and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc, playing 35 minutes. Nine times, the freshman scored in double figures and had a season-best seven assists against Western Carolina.
The Mocs went 29-4 for the second straight season, tying a school record for wins and claiming their 18thregular season title. Chattanooga went on claim its 15th SoCon Tournament crown and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 12th time since 1989.
The two-time defending SoCon champion received four of the eight first-place votes for a total of 46 points. The Mocs, led by second-year head coach Jim Foster, return three of their five starters from last season's squad. Foster is the first Division I head coach to lead four different schools to the NCAA Tournament, after taking the Mocs to the Big Dance last season.
The Southern Conference Sports Media Association (SCSMA) also selected the Mocs to retain their title this season as Chattanooga received 17 of the 24 first place votes.
Furman placed second in both polls with the Paladins finishing two points behind UTC in the coaches poll with two first place votes. In the media poll, Furman received six first place votes and 20 points behind Chattanooga in the voting.
The coaches selected Samford to finish third with two first place votes followed by Mercer, Western Carolina, ETSU, Wofford and UNCG. Newcomer Mercer received one vote in the media poll and was selected to finish third in its first season in the SoCon. Samford was fourth followed by ETSU, Western Carolina, UNCG and Wofford.
The coaches also selected the preseason all-conference team, which consisted of ten players from any position. The group is led by Furman's preseason favorite for Player of the Year Brittany Hodges along with teammate Holli Wilkins, both of whom were All-Conference selections last season. Samford also placed two players on the preseason squad with junior Taylor Reece and sophomore Hannah Nichols, who was named to SoCon All-Freshman squad a year ago.
Chattanooga sophomore Chelsey Shumpert, an All-Freshman selection in 2013-14, is the lone honoree for the preseason favorite. Mercer senior Precious Bridges and ETSU senior Serena Clark each claimed a spot on the preseason squad. The Bears will compete in their first season in the league, while the Bucs return to the league for their first season since 2004-05.
UNCG junior Lucy Mason, Western Carolina senior Justin Taylor and Wofford junior Jordan Frazier completed the group. Taylor was named to the SoCon First-Team All-Tournament squad last season, averaging 21.6 points over three games for the Catamounts at the tournament.
The Southern Conference women's basketball season tips off on Friday, Nov.14, and the 2015 Southern Conference Tournament will be held March 5-8 in Asheville, N.C.
2014-15 SoCon Women's Basketball Coaches Preseason Poll
Team (1st Place Votes) Total Points
1. Chattanooga (4)46
2. Furman (2)44
3. Samford (2)37
4. Mercer 30
5. Western Carolina 24
6. ETSU 19
7. Wofford 13
8. UNCG 11