Middle Tennessee tops C-USA preseason poll
Middle Tennessee is the favorite to win the Conference USA regular season crown according in 2015-16, according to the league’s coaches. Old Dominion, Western Kentucky, Southern Miss and Texas-El Paso round out the top five.
2015-16 C-USA Preseason Poll (#) first-place votes
1. Middle Tennessee (5)
2. Old Dominion (4)
3. WKU (4)
4. Southern Miss
7. UTSA (1)
9. Louisiana Tech
11. Florida Atlantic
14. North Texas
From the league:
Veteran head coach Rick Insell, who has compiled a 29-5 C-USA record in his first two years in the league, will guide a unit led by C-USA Preseason Player of the Year Olivia Jones. Jones, an all-conference first-team selection a year ago, averaged nearly 20 points per game and broke seven Middle Tennessee sophomore records. Now a junior, Jones needs merely 40 points to join the Blue Raider 1,000 point club.
Last season’s C-USA Newcomer of the Year, Jennie Simms, a preseason All-C-USA selection, will lead Old Dominion, which placed second in the preseason poll with four first-place votes following its exciting run in the 2015 C-USA Championship. Simms emerged as one of the dominant guards in the league and led ODU in points (19.3 ppg) and rebounds (8.1) on top of first-team all-conference honors.
Placing third in the tight preseason poll was defending C-USA champion and NCAA participant WKU, which also received four first-place votes. Leading the Lady Toppers will be preseason All-C-USA selection Kendall Noble, who was the 2015 C-USA Defensive Player of the Year. The local product out of Hazard, Kentucky, finished the 2014-15 crusade with the most steals in WKU single-season history (105), a mark that ranked 14th in the nation. Noble was also a finalist for the 2015 WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year award.
2015-16 C-USA Preseason All-Conference Team
Student-Athlete | School | Class | Pos. | Hometown
Lefty Webster | Charlotte | Junior | G | Norfolk, Va.
Brandi Wingate | LA Tech | Senior | G/F | Columbia, Md.
Leah Scott | Marshall | Senior | G/F | Detroit, Mich.
Olivia Jones* | Middle Tennessee | Junior | G/F | Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Jennie Simms | Old Dominion | Junior | G | Accokeek, Md.
Jerontay Clemons | Southern Miss | Senior | G | Coldwater, Miss.
Cameasha Turner | UTEP | Senior | G | Dallas, Texas
Kendall Noble | WKU | Junior | G | Hazard, Ky.
*Denotes Preseason Player of the Year