ROCK HILL — The Newberry College women’s basketball team has been picked to finish third in the South Atlantic Conference in the annual poll of the league’s coaches, which was released Thursday.
The Wolves - who received one first place vote in the poll - enters its fifth season under head coach Sean Page, coming off a 16-12 season in which the Wolves reached the Food Lion SAC Tournament semifinals. Newberry returns three starters and 10 letterwinners from last season’s team.
The SAC’s women’s basketball coaches voted Wingate No. 1 in the league’s preseason poll, predicting the Bulldogs to repeat as conference champions in 2012-13, it was announced on Thursday.
Wingate was an overwhelming choice as the preseason No. 1, earning seven of the 10 first-place votes from the league’s coaches. The Bulldogs won both the SAC regular season and tournament titles in 2011-12, finishing 23-7 overall and 13-5 in the conference.
Lenoir-Rhyne is second in the preseason poll, receiving one first-place vote. The Bears finished tied for third in the 2011-12 SAC standings at 11-7 and went 19-9 overall.
With the return of sharp-shooting 2011-12 second-team All-Conference guard Kendal Baxter, Tusculum is fourth in the poll. The Pioneers earned an at-large selection to last year’s NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Championship.
After finishing second in last season’s SAC standings, and earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, Catawba received one first-place vote and is ranked No. 5 in the preseason poll.
Lincoln Memorial is No. 6 in the poll, followed by No. 7 Carson-Newman and No. 8 Anderson.
Rounding out the preseason poll is No. 9 Mars Hill and No. 10 Brevard.