UTEP women pegged as 10th-best team in C-USA preseason poll

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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

  1. UAB (8)
  2. Rice (5)
  3. Middle Tennessee (1)
  4. WKU
  5. Charlotte
  6. Louisiana Tech
  7. North Texas
  8. Southern Miss
  9. Florida Atlantic
  10. UTEP
  11. Old Dominion
  12. UTSA
  13. Marshall
  14. FIU


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.

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