Copney Picked to Women’s Basketball All-Conference Preseason Team
MACON, Ga. – The Atlantic Sun Conference released its women's basketball preseason awards and polls today as USC Upstate junior guard Tee'Ara Copney (Asheville, N.C.) was a preseason all-conference selection.
Copney was one of four unanimous Preseason All-Atlantic Sun Team picks. She was named to the All-Conference Second Team last season after averaging 15.1 points per game and 4.1 rebounds per contest. As a sophomore, Copney dished out 4.0 assists per game, while collecting 2.4 steals per outing. She also earned All-Freshman Team honors during the 2009-10 campaign, registering 11.6 points per game and snagging 3.2 boards per contest.
"Tee'Ara has earned a lot of respect from other coaches based on what she has been able to accomplish the last two years," said Upstate head coach Tammy George. "I believe she is definitely one of the best in the conference. This is a well deserved honor and a great recognition for our program. She is more focused this year and working very hard to build on what she has accomplished."
Due to a tie in voting, the preseason team is made up of 11 members with nine of the conference's 10 institutions represented. Victoria McGowan (Stetson) and Larkira Jones (North Florida) were named the A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively. Copney, McGowan , Briana Williams (Mercer) and Haley Nelson (Belmont) were the four unanimous preseason team selections.
In addition to the preseason awards, the A-Sun also announced the conference's preseason coaches' poll and preseason media rankings. Florida Gulf Coast took top honors in both lists and was predicted to win the conference tournament by the coaches and the media.
In the preseason coaches' poll, FGCU earned eight first-place votes and tallied 95 points, while Stetson was picked second with 87 points. ETSU claimed third with one first-place vote and 81 points with Belmont taking fourth after getting one first-place vote and 64 points. North Florida rounded out the top half of the list, totaling 61 points.
Jacksonville earned sixth-place nods in the coaches' rankings, collecting 43 points, followed by Upstate in seventh with 38 points. The Spartans went 17-13 overall last year with a 13-7 mark in A-Sun play to tie for third in the standings. Upstate returns six letterwinners from the 2010-11 squad, including three starters, while also losing six contributors, including two starters.
Mercer ranked eighth in the preseason coaches' list with 35 points, followed by Kennesaw State and Lipscomb with 29 and 17 points, respectively.
"We have a lot of new players this year and have a lot of work ahead of us," George said. "Our focus is on ourselves and just getting better daily with this young team."
In the conference's preseason media poll, FGCU earned all of the 19 first-place votes to register 190 points. ETSU (159) came in second, followed by Stetson (149) and North Florida (114). The Spartans closed out the top five, collecting 108 points.
Belmont (101) came in sixth in the media rankings, while Jacksonville (85) and Kennesaw State (54) claimed the seventh and eighth slots, respectively. Mercer (50) and Lipscomb (30) finished out the poll.