Women's Basketball Picked Seventh in C-USA Preseason Poll
Oct. 11, 2006
IRVING, Texas - For the second consecutive year, Rice has been picked as the preseason favorite to win the Conference USA women's basketball regular season title. The poll was voted upon by the league's 12 head coaches and released by the league office Wednesday. The Owls tallied 142 points and earned 10 first-place votes, while Tulsa and SMU tied for second with 113 points each. TU received one first-place vote, as did Houston who came in fourth with 99 points.
Rice returns a solid 82.9 percent of its scoring and 79.0 percent of its rebounding from a team that finished second in the league (11-5 and 18-14 overall) and at the conference tournament a year ago. The Owls welcome back four starters and 11 letterwinners, including preseason all-conference pick Lauren Neeves. Neeves, a 6-2 senior forward, was also named a 2006 All-C-USA first teamer with a double-double average of 15.7 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Second-year head coach Greg Williams guided his alma mater to the 2006 WNIT after winning 12 of its last 15 games. Rice has participated in postseason play seven of the last nine years, including two NCAA Tournament appearances.
C-USA Preseason Player of the Year accolades goes to Tulsa's Jillian Robbins. After averaging 17.9 points and 12.8 rebounds per game, Robbins was named a 2006 Kodak/WBCA honorable mention All-American as well as C-USA Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. The 6-1 senior forward became just the third player in C-USA history to lead the league in scoring and rebounding in the same season. Robbins, who posted 21 double-doubles last season, returns to help Tulsa defend its regular season and tournament titles from a year ago.
SMU concluded the 2006 season at 16-14 overall and 10-6 in league play, for third place. The Mustangs return three starters and nine letterwinners including preseason all-conference selection Janielle Dodds. Dodds, 6-3 junior post, led the squad in scoring and rebounding with 15.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
Second-year head coach Charlene Thomas-Swinson led Tulsa to a school-record 26 wins, its first conference regular season and tournament titles and the school's first trip to the NCAA Tournament. The 2006 C-USA Coach of the Year returns five letterwinners and two starters from last year's club. Returning starters Robbins and Tandem Mays, a 5-8 senior guard, looks to build upon last year's success.
Houston also returns four starters to a squad that finished 8-8 in the league and 12-17 overall. UH returns the only pair of teammates - Tye Jackson and Sha'Ratta Hawkins - that averaged better than 15 ppg a year ago. Jackson, a preseason all-conference pick and 2006 All-C-USA performer, led the Cougars with 17.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. The 2006-07 preseason all-conference team is identical to the 2006 C-USA All-Conference first team in Robbins, Neeves, Dodds, Jackson of Houston and Carmen Guzman of UAB.
Conference USA women's basketball season gets underway with a pair of exhibition games on Wednesday, Nov. 1. Exhibition play continues until regular season opens on Friday, Nov. 10, when four C-USA programs, Memphis, Rice, Southern Miss and Tulane, tip off the season.
2006-07 C-USA Preseason Coaches Poll
2006-07 C-USA Preseason Coaches All-Conference Team