An unprecedented run last season helped position UAB as the 2018-19 Conference USA women’s basketball preseason favorite and Rice junior Erica Ogwumike was crowned the C-USA Preseason Player of the Year, according to the league’s head coaches.
2018-19 WBB Preseason Poll
- UAB (8)
- Rice (5)
- Middle Tennessee (1)
- Louisiana Tech
- North Texas
- Southern Miss
- Florida Atlantic
- Old Dominion
2018-19 WBB Preseason Team
Laia Raventós, Charlotte, Sr.
Kierra Anthony, Louisiana Tech, Sr.
Alex Johnson, Middle Tennessee, Sr.
Terriell Bradley, North Texas, Sr.
*Erica Ogwumike, Rice, Jr.
Shonte Hailes, Southern Miss, Jr.
Deanna Kuzmanic, UAB, Sr.
Rachael Childress, UAB, Jr.
*C-USA Preseason Player of the Year
Labeled one of the youngest teams in the NCAA in 2016-17, last season’s Blazers hoisted themselves into the record books by generating the best regular season in UAB women’s basketball’s 40-year history. The program solidified its first C-USA Regular-Season Championship and first conference crown since 1994. The Blazers flipped a .500 campaign into a program-record 27 wins and a 13-3 performance in league play with reigning C-USA Coach of the Year Randy Norton at the helm. Representing UAB on the league’s preseason team are 2017-18 All-Conference First-Team selections Deanna Kuzmanic and Rachel Childress.
Rice was slated as the runner-up following the second-highest amount of wins in school history (23) last year. The Owls advanced to the second round of the WNIT, a conclusion rooted by a 17-3 start that marked the program’s most successful opening in its tenure. Ogwumike became the first Rice women’s basketball player to receive C-USA Newcomer of the Year and ranked top five in C-USA scoring and rebounding, and top 10 in steals in 2017-18.
Middle Tennessee rosters six newcomers and returns starters who battled injuries, leading to Rick Insell’s Lady Raiders landing third in the preseason voting. The team reached its 15th-consecutive postseason with a top-25 scoring defense and nearly seven 3-pointers per game. Senior Alex Johnson, the 2017-18 Preseason Player of the Year, appears on the preseason squad and is on the hunt to become just the fourth Lady Raider to net 2,000+ career points.
C-USA will begin its 24th women’s basketball campaign on Tuesday, Nov. 6, and will conclude at the 2019 Air Force Reserve Conference USA Basketball Championships presented by Baylor Scott & White Sports Performance Center at The Star, March 13-16, in Frisco, Texas. C-USA will serve as host for the second year in a row with the league’s championship final set for Saturday, March 16, at 5:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. CT broadcast on CBS Sports Network.