ARLINGTON, Virginia - UNCW was picked to finish seventh overall during the upcoming 2012-13 season and senior forward Karneshia Garrett was named an Honorable Mention Preseason All-CAA selection during the league's Basketball Media Day Tuesday at Champps-Pentagon Row.
The Seahawks, who return three starters and seven letterwinners from last season's squad that posted 20 victories and made its second straight appearance in the Postseason Women's National Invitation Tournament, and George Mason were selected to finish seventh in a vote of the league's 11 head coaches.
"I think even with success we've have the past couple of years, there is so much transition heading into this season with a new coach and trying to replace two starters that it is hard to know what to expect of this new phase of UNCW women's basketball," said first-year Head Coach Adell Harris. "I'm not sensitive at all about where we were selected. Preseason polls are for media and fans. I feel we can compete with any team in the league and we'll have a chance to prove that this season."
Delaware was selected to repeat as league champions. The Blue Hens return all five starters from last year's 31-2 squad that captured the program's first CAA title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Blue Hens senior Elena Delle Donne, who led the nation in scoring (28.1 ppg) a season ago, was tagged the league's Preseason Player-of-the-Year on Tuesday.
James Madison, who welcomes back four starters back from last year's 29-8 squad that advanced to the finals of Postseason WNIT, was tabbed to finish second. Hofstra was picked third, followed by Drexel, Old Dominion, Northeastern, UNCW and George Mason (tie), Towson and William & Mary (tie) and Georgia State.
Joining Dellle Donne on the Preseason All-CAA First Team are Hofstra's Shante Evans, JMU's Tarik Hislop, Northeastern's Deanna Kerkhof and Drexel's Hollie Mershon.
Garrett earned Honorable Mention Preseason All-CAA accolades after appearing in 32 games and making 21 starts during her first season with the program in 2011-12. Garrett averaged 9.8 points and 7.5 rebounds while pacing the team with seven double-doubles.
"Karneshia will have as good as a senior year as she decides to have," said Harris. "If she decides to dedicate her efforts to making herself better, she has the ability to be a standout player in this league. We believe in her, she just needs to take her preparation to a whole new level in order for her to have the success we know she can have this season."
2012-13 CAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. Delaware| 2. James Madison 3. Hofstra 4. Drexel 5. Old Dominion 6. Northeastern 7. George Mason UNCW 9. Towson William & Mary 11. Georgia State
2012-13 CAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS
Elena Delle Donne, Delaware*
Wilmington, Del./Ursuline Academy
Shante Evans, Hofstra*
West Chester, Pa./Henderson
Tarik Hislop, James Madison#
Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch
Deanna Kerkhof, Northeastern^
Wallaceburg, Ontario/Ursuline College
Hollie Mershon, Drexel#
Malvern, Pa./Archbishop Carroll
Kirby Burkholder, James Madison^
Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby
Lauren Carra, Delaware^
Emily Correal, William & Mary
Venetia, Pa./Peter's Township
Amber Easter, George Mason
Nikki Newman, James Madison
Harrisonburg, Va./Turner Ashby
CAA Preseason Player of the Year: Elena Delle Donne, Delaware