JACKSON, Tenn. - 10/17/2007 - The TranSouth Athletic Conference women’s basketball coaches have designated Union University as the team most likely to win this year’s TranSouth title in the annual preseason coaches’ poll.
The defending conference champion Lady Bulldogs, who have won two of the last three national championships, received nine of the ten first place votes and totaled 99 points. In the 12-year history of the TranSouth, Union has been regular season champions 10 times and tournament champions nine times.
Trevecca, who has reached the NAIA Elite Eight for three consecutive years, was voted second with 87 points and one first place vote. Freed-Hardeman, who has won three of the last four conference championships, is picked third with 78 points. Lambuth University, the NAIA defending National Champion, is fourth with 77 points. Cumberland University, the NAIA National Championship Runner-up, is fifth with 59 points. Martin Methodist, who recorded a school record for wins last season, is sixth with 50 points. Bethel College returned to the TranSouth last season and is picked seventh with 43 points in this their second season back. Lyon College is eighth with 32 points, Blue Mountain is picked ninth with 20 points and Mid-Continent is picked tenth with 10 points.
The TranSouth has arguably been the best women’s basketball conference over the last four years. Last season saw five TranSouth teams hold strong positions in the NAIA Top 25 all year. Four teams reached the Elite Eight, three teams reached the final four, and two made the championship game. The TranSouth has claimed the last three NAIA Championships. However, the NAIA National Champion wasn’t the TranSouth champion in any of those three seasons. Lambuth and Cumberland were tied for third in the TranSouth last season, and those two teams made the NAIA Championship game. Due to the tradition, strong coaches, and great facilities the TranSouth will be as competitive as ever and will see as many as five teams in the NAIA preseason poll this year. As one evaluates the team capsules included later in this preview, one would have to believe the TranSouth will be as strong a factor as ever in this year’s NAIA National Championship hunt.
Martin Methodist College and Mid-Continent University have hired new coaches on the women’s front. At Martin Methodist Dee Bell, a graduate of Maryville College, comes to Pulaski from Reinhardt College in Waleska, Ga. Bell was previously at Maryville College where he compiled a 107-37 record. Rian Puckett will begin his first season as a head coach with the Cougars in Mayfield. The Lyles, Tenn. native played a Hickman County and later for Bethel College. He finished his career at Mid-Continent University. He was a NAIA Scholar-Athlete.
TranSouth Women's Basketball Coaches Preseason Rankings
1. Union University 99 (9)
2. Trevecca Nazarene 87 (1)
3. Freed-Hardeman 78
4. Lambuth University 77
5. Cumberland University 59
6. Martin Methodist 50
7. Bethel College 43
8. Lyon College 32
9. Blue Mountain 20
10. Mid-Continent 10
Votes were given with a value of 10=1 point and 1=10 points.
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