INDIANAPOLIS – Green Bay received all but two first place votes, tallying 241 points, and has been chosen to win the 2012-13 Horizon League women’s basketball championship in a preseason poll of the league’s coaches, sports information directors and media members. Kim Demmings of Wright State was named Preseason Player of the Year, edging Detroit’s Shareta Brown by one point.
Detroit (210) took second in the poll, receiving two first place votes, while Wright State (191) finished third. Loyola (152) and Cleveland State (123) are fourth and fifth in the poll. UIC (90) was picked to finish sixth, followed closely by Milwaukee (85) and Youngstown State (77) with Valparaiso (46) rounding out the poll.
Demmings received 229 points and nine Player-of-the-Year votes. The sophomore guard is the top returning scorer in the Horizon League after averaging 18.4 ppg. in her rookie campaign. Demmings’ scoring average was the most of any freshman in NCAA Division I women’s basketball last season. The Co-Newcomer of the Year last season also is the top returning assist person in the League, averaging 4.3 per game last season. She also averaged 6.1 rebounds per game.
Demmings was joined by Brown, Cleveland State’s Shalonda Winton, Green Bay’s Adrian Ritchie and Youngstown State’s Brandi Brown on a Preseason All-Horizon League First Team.
Brown received 228 points and had 10 Player-of-the-Year votes to finish one point behind Demmings in the race for top individual honors in the conference. The 6’2” sophomore was Co-Newcomer of the Year last year in the Horizon League after averaging 18.3 ppg., in helping lead Detroit to a runner-up finish in the conference. Brown also ranked among league leaders in rebounding after pulling down 8.8 boards per game.
Winton is the top returning rebounder in the League this season after averaging 9.8 per game last season and is the second-highest returning scorer with an 18.3 ppg., average last season. Ritchie averaged 12.3 points per game and 2.9 assists per game for a Green Bay team that finished the season 31-2. Brown put 15.9 points per game last season, while also averaging 9.3 rebounds a contest.
Loyola sophomore Simone Law, a member of last season’s Horizon League All-Newcomer team, earned Horizon League Preseason Second-Team accolades along with Green Bay senior Lydia Bauer, Valparaiso junior Tabitha Gerardot, Milwaukee senior Sami Tucker and Loyola senior Patrice King.
Law averaged 13.0 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game in her rookie campaign in the conference. Bauer started all 33 games last season for the Phoenix, averaging 11.1 ppg., and 3.5 rpg. Gerardot was the Crusaders’ top scorer (13.0 ppg.) and rebounder (6.3 rpg) last season. Tucker scored 11.6 ppg and grabbed 7.3 rpg. King, playing in her first season in the League, averaged 11.8 points per game and 1.5 steals per game last season as she was named to the All-Newcomer team.
Green Bay returns four starters from last season’s 31-2 squad that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Phoenix, coached by Kevin Borseth who is returning to Green Bay as head coach after spending the last five seasons as head coach at Michigan, have won 14 consecutive regular season titles.
Detroit returns three starters from last season’s team which finished runner-up in the conference in the regular season and postseason. The Titans were the only Horizon League team to defeat Green Bay last season, dropping the Phoenix, 70-58, in February.
Wright State comes in third in the preseason poll after playing in the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) the last two seasons. The Raiders return Demmings, as well as Courtney Boyd, who made 85 three-point field goals last season, the most in the Horizon League.
Loyola returns four starters and its top five scorers from last season. In addition to Law and Green, the Ramblers also return Monica Albano (11.2 ppg. last season) and Troy Hambric (10.2 ppg and 6.1 rpg.)
Cleveland State is looking to rebound from a disappointing season last year after being picked in the preseason to finish second in the conference. In addition to Winton, the Vikings return sophomore Cori Coleman (8.4 ppg.)and senior Honesty King (8.7 ppg.).
UIC was hit the hardest of any team in the conference by graduation. The 2012-13 Flames squad will feature 10 newcomers as UIC returns only 29.5 percent of its scoring from last season. The top returner for the Flames is senior Taylor Foulks who averaged 7.5 ppg. and 4.0 rpg.
Milwaukee hired a new head coach in the offseason turning over the program to Kyle Rechlicz. Rechlicz has some pieces to build around though as UWM returns three starters from last season; Tucker, junior Angela Rodriguez (10.4 ppg.) and sophomore Ashley Green (10.4 ppg and 5.4 rpg).
Youngstown State returns three starters from last season and will be looking to build on last year’s squad that won 10 games - more than the previous three seasons combined.
Valparaiso also brought in a new head coach as the Crusaders hired Tracey Dorow in the offseason. Dorow has Gerardot, senior Gina Lange and senior Laura Richards to turn to in her first season at Valpo. Richards 83 steals last season are the most of any player returning to the League.
The 2012-13 women’s basketball season beings on Friday, Nov. 9. The 2013 Horizon League Women’s Basketball Championship is set for March 11, 13, 15 and 17.