McMillan Tabbed Preseason Player of the Year, Spartans Picked Third
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Senior Chelsea McMillan was named the Atlantic Sun Conference's Preseason Player of the Year as the USC Upstate women's basketball team was predicted to finish third in the preseason coaches' poll, the conference office in Macon, Ga., announced today.
McMillan (Quincy, Fla./Santa Fe C.C.), who is the first player in program history to ever be selected as the conference preseason player of the year, was an unanimous selection to the preseason All-Conference Team. She was joined on the preseason team by reigning A-Sun Freshman of the Year Tee'Ara Copney (Asheville, N.C./T.C. Roberson HS). The Spartans were the only team to have two selections named to the preseason team.
"Chelsea proved last year that she is one of the best in the conference," said head coach Tammy George. "She has improved tremendously during her time here and hopefully that will continue this year. Tee'Ara had a great freshman season and we are hopeful that she too can build on that success."
As a junior, McMillan was a unanimous First-Team All-Conference selection after averaging a double-double, with 14.2 ppg and 10.8 rpg. She led the A-Sun a season ago with 121 offensive rebounds, while her 10.8 rpg ranked second and 14.2 ppg placed her fifth. She also finished second in both blocked shots (51) and rebounds (312), while finishing third in defensive rebounds (191).
Meanwhile, Copney finished her freshman campaign averaging 11.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg and 2.0 apg. Copney finished the season with 67 steals, which was second-best in the conference. She led the Spartans with six 20-plus point performances in 2009-10, including a career-high 29 at North Florida on Jan. 21, 2010.
Joining McMillan and Copney on the preseason All-Conference Team was: Tonisha Baker (Campbell), Jenna Bartsokas (Lipscomb), Jessica Conner (Stetson), Tara Davis (ETSU),Sametria Giedon (Kennesaw State), Brittany Kirkland (UNF), Shannon Murphy (FGCU) and Haley Nelson (Belmont).
In the preseason coaches' poll, Upstate was predicted to finish third behind FGCU and ETSU. The Spartans received 100 points as they were just four points behind FGCU (104) and were just one point behind ETSU (101). FGCU received seven of 11 first place votes, with Upstate and ETSU each receiving two. Rounding out the top five was UNF (84), while Belmont and Campbell were tied for fifth with 71 points.
"Being picked third is the highest preseason ranking we have earned since my time here at Upstate," added George. "It shows the progress that our program has made in the short time since the move to Division I. We are on a journey and we are taking one day at a time as our main focus is to get better with each and every practice."
The poll finished with Jacksonville seventh with 53 points, followed by Kennesaw State (51), Mercer (39), Stetson (32) and Lipscomb (20).
In the preseason media poll, the Spartans were selected second in the media poll as they tied with ETSU with 221 votes, 13 points behind favorite FGCU. Upstate earned four first-place votes, while FGCU and ETSU tallied 14 and five, respectively. Selections four through 11 were Belmont (155), UNF (137), Campbell (133), Kennesaw State (125), Mercer (102), Jacksonville (98), Stetson (54) and Lipscomb (38).
The Spartans will kick-off the season on Friday, November 12, when they face off against Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss. Tip-off between the Spartans and the Bulldogs is slated for 4:00 p.m. (CT).
Preseason Player of the Year: Chelsea McMillan, USC Upstate
Preseason All-Atlantic Sun Team
|G||Tonisha Baker (So.)||Campbell|
|G||Jenna Bartsokas (Sr.)||Lipscomb|
|F/C||Jessica Conner (Sr.)||Stetson|
|G||Tee'Ara Copney (So.)||USC Upstate|
|G||*Tara Davis (Sr.)||ETSU|
|F||Sametria Giedon (So.)||Kennesaw State|
|G||*Brittany Kirkland (Jr.)||North Florida|
|G||*Shannon Murphy (Sr.)||Florida Gulf Coast|
|P||*Haley Nelson (Jr.)||Belmont|
|* - Unanimous Selection|
Atlantic Sun Preseason Coaches' Poll
|Pl.||School (First-Place Votes)||Points|
|1.||Florida Gulf Coast (7)||104|
|3.||USC Upstate (2)||100|
|Tournament Champion: ETSU (7 votes)|
Atlantic Sun Preseason Media Poll
|Pl.||School (First-Place Votes)||Points|
|1.||Florida Gulf Coast (14)||234|
|T-2.||USC Upstate (4)||221|
|Tournament Champion: ETSU (15 votes)|