Memphis Tabbed to Win 2012 Title
Oct. 6, 2011
IRVING, Texas - After battling injuries and guiding her team to its second consecutive postseason tournament, Memphis senior BRITTANY CARTER has been voted the league's Preseason Player of the Year while the Tigers are picked to win the 2012 Conference USA women's basketball regular season title as voted on by the coaches.
Carter, a 5-9 guard from Covington, Ga., missed five conference games last season with a stress fracture but still averaged a team-high 13.8 points per game and led Memphis to the WNIT. She enters her senior season as the conference's all-time single-game scorer as she netted 49 points against Sacramento State on Nov. 27, 2009. Head coach MELISSA MCFERRIN guided last year's club to its 18th 20-win season (21-13). She returns four starters and 74-percent of the team's scoring from a year ago.
With Carter and senior post JASMINE LEE leading the way, Memphis garnered seven first-place votes in the preseason coaches' poll. It's the second time in school history the Tigers were picked to win the league. Memphis won the 1996-97 C-USA regular season title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament after being the top pick heading into the season.
Lee joins Carter on the C-USA preseason team. She was one of the league's best on the offensive glass as she accounted for the third-most offensive boards per game with 3.58 and was among the elite shooters, hitting 49.5 percent from the floor.
Rice, which garnered three first-place votes, was picked to finish second while No. 3 UCF and No. 4 Tulane also received a first-place vote. The three programs participated in postseason action a year ago. The Owls and Green Wave were selected to the WNIT and the Knights earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship after winning the league tournament for the second time in three years. UTEP tied the Green Wave for fourth in the preseason standings and finished the 2011 season at 16-14.
Houston's PORSCHE LANDRY and UCF's AISHA PATRICK joined Carter as the three senior guards on the C-USA Preseason Team. The 5-5 Landry was an All-C-USA first-team pick last season after averaging 14.8 points and dishing out 129 assists for her hometown team that won the 2011 conference regular season title and produced the league's second perfect C-USA record of 16-0. UTEP was the first to run the table in league play in 2007-08.
Patrick averaged 10.7 points per game and pocketed 81 steals in UCF's run to the 2011 C-USA Tournament crown. A native of Rockledge, Fla., she ranked among the league's top 10 in steals (2.7/4th), assists (5.0/5th), rebounds (9.7/6th) and field goal percentage (.571/8th) in tournament play.
JESSICA KUSTER of Rice, Southern Miss' RACHEL VIGERS and GLORIA BROWN of UTEP were the three forwards named to the preseason team. Kuster is the only non-senior on the eight-person preseason team.
Kuster had a dazzling freshman season for the Owls as she was just the third freshman in league history to capture All-C-USA first-team honors last season and was an easy pick for Freshman of the Year. The 6-2 San Antonio, Texas, native was the only player to average a double-double in league play, accounting for 15.8 points and 11.9 rebounds per game.
Even though she played only seven conference games due to injury, Vigers was an All-C-USA third-team selection last season and racked up a team-high 16.4 points per game. She's one of two returning starters for the Golden Eagles.
C-USA's 2011 Newcomer and Sixth Player of the Year, Brown carried the Miners throughout the 2011 season with a 12.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game average as well as 65 blocks. The 6-2 native of Philadelphia, Pa., shot 54.9 percent from the field, second-best in the league, and a solid 80.0 from the free throw line.
Rounding out the 2012 All-C-USA Preseason Team is SMU senior post CHRISTINE ELLIOTT. She led the Mustangs with team-highs of 10.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. She also recorded three double-doubles to boost her career total to 14.
Both men's and women's head coaches will convene in Irving, Texas on Oct. 11 for the annual C-USA Basketball Media Day. The Elma Roane Fieldhouse and the FedExForum will serve as the site of the 2012 C-USA Basketball Championship March 7-10.
2011-12 C-USA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON POLL
(#) denotes first-place votes
2011-12 C-USA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON TEAM
2011-12 C-USA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL