EIU Women's Basketball Team Picked to Finish Third in Conference, Men Fifth

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Published on October 23 2013 11:32 am
Last Updated on October 23 2013 11:33 am
Written by Millie Lange

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Panther women’s basketball team was picked to finish third in the Ohio Valley Conference’s West Division as voted on by conference head coaches and sports information directors.

UT Martin, the three-time defending OVC Tournament Champions, earned 22 first-place votes and was tabbed to win the west division. SIUE earned two first-place votes and was selected to finish second in the division followed by EIU and Murray State. Southeast Missouri was picked fifth while Austin Peay was sixth in the poll, respectively.

Tennessee Tech was picked to win the east division, earning 12 first-place votes, followed by Belmont (nine, first-place votes) and Eastern Kentucky (three, first-place votes). Morehead State, Tennessee State and Jacksonville State rounded out the bottom of the east division.

UT Martin, Morehead State and Tennessee Tech all had two players named to the 10-player preseason All-OVC Team. Jasmine Newsome was tabbed the preseason player of the year.

The Panthers return seven players from last year’s team that captured the OVC Regular-Season Title, posting a 20-12 overall record and a 12-4 mark in conference action. EIU also advanced to its fourth consecutive postseason tournament and posted a 60-58 win over Missouri in the opening round of the WNIT – the school’s first postseason victory.

Junior forward Sabina Oroszova is the top returning scorer and rebounder for EIU, averaging 5.9 points and seven rebounds per game a year ago. Katlyn Payne made 28 starts last season and averaged 5.7 points per game while making 48 three pointers.

EIU also returns two other veteran players in Jordyne Crunk and Taryn Olson. Crunk averaged 5.8 points per game and connected on 85 percent of her free throw attempts while Olson chipped in 2.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.

EIU opens the regular season on Friday, Nov. 8 at Evansville under the direction of first-year head coach Debbie Black. She joins the Panthers after a successful stint as an assistant coach at Ohio State under Jim Foster that saw the Buckeyes win six Big Ten Conference Championships in eight seasons.

Fans can come out and meet the Panthers for the first time this season on Wednesday, Oct. 30 for EIU Blue Madness in Lantz Arena. The home opener is Tuesday Nov. 12 against Indiana State at 7 p.m.

Single-game tickets are now available by contacting the EIU Ticket Office at 217-581-2106.

 

Men's Team Picked To Finish Fifth

The Panther men’s basketball team was picked to finish fifth in the Ohio Valley Conference’s West Division as selected by conference head coaches and sports information directors.

Southeast Missouri and Murray State both received 117 total points as the two squads were tied for first in the preseason poll’s west division. The Redhawks had 13 first-place votes while the Racers had 11 first-place votes. Austin Peay was tabbed to finish third in the division followed by UT Martin, EIU and SIUE.

Eastern Kentucky received 18 first-place votes, ranking first in the east division followed by Belmont who had six first-place votes. Morehead State was selected to finish third followed by Jacksonville State, Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech.

Austin Peay, Eastern Kentucky and Southeast Missouri each had two players on the 10-player preseason All-OVC Team. Tyler Stone was selected as the conference’s preseason player of the year.

The Panthers return four players from last season with three of them starting 20 or more games. Sherman Blanford is the squad’s top returning scorer and rebounder, averaging 10.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. The senior forward earned All-OVC Newcomer Team honors a year ago.

Josh Piper also returns after a sophomore season where he started in 31 contests and drained a team-high 52 three pointers. The Champaign, Ill., native averaged 10.2 points per game.

EIU also returns Alex Austin who led all OVC freshmen in scoring last year, averaging 9.3 points per game. All told, the Panthers feature 18 players on the roster with junior Keenen Anderson as only other returning player from last year. EIU was third in the OVC West Division last season advancing the program's first OVC Tournament since the 2010 season.

Under the direction of second-year head coach Jay Spoonhour, the Panthers will open the season at Northwestern on Saturday, Nov. 9. EIU will also have a home exhibition against Oakland City on Nov. 2.

Fans can come out and meet the Panthers for the first time this season on Wednesday, Oct. 30 for EIU Blue Madness in Lantz Arena. EIU’s home opener is slated for Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. versus Olivet Nazarene.

Single-game tickets are now available by contacting the EIU Ticket Office at 217-581-2106.