AUGUSTA, GA -- The Francis Marion University women’s basketball team has been picked to finish third according to the annual preseason coaches’ poll released on Tuesday.
The Patriots of first-year head coach Kate Glusko tallied 108 points to trail only Lander University, the defending PBC champions, and Clayton State University. The Bearcats were a unanimous choice to repeat as regular-season champs.
Following Francis Marion in the poll is Georgia College (101), USC Aiken (98), Columbus State University (97), UNC Pembroke (79), North Georgia College & State University (62), Georgia Southwestern State University (54), University of Montevallo (48), Armstrong Atlantic State University (46), and a tie between Flagler College (22) and Augusta State University (22).
Coaches were not permitted to rank their own teams.
Glusko inherits eight letterwinners, including two starters, from last year’s 27-5 squad that advanced to the Peach Belt Conference Tournament title game, advanced to the round of 32 in the NCAA Division II Tournament, and finished the year ranked 20th in the nation.
Two-time All-PBC selection and two-time honorable mention All-American Shannon Singleton-Bates leads the FMU returnees. Singleton-Bates led the Patriots in scoring (16.0 ppg), while connecting on 47% of her field goal attempts, including 41.7% from three-point distance, while only playing 24.9 minutes per game. Senior point guard Robin Colbert, the 2010 PBC Defensive Player of the Year, also returns after averaging 8.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 3.7 steals per game (4th nationally) last year.
Four transfers, including three with NCAA Division I experience, join one true freshman as newcomers on the 2010-11 FMU roster.
FMU has twenty-one 20-win seasons in the team’s 37-year history, and the Patriots ranks among the Top 10 Division II programs in all-time victories. Francis Marion was 15-1 at home last season (29-2 over the last two years) and has won 158 of their last 198 home contests in the Smith University Center.
The Patriots will open their season Nov. 12 at Fayetteville State University.
Glusko is one of four new head coaches in the Peach Belt, joining Nate Teymer at Augusta State, Maurice Smith at Georgia College and Mechan Vanderpool at Montevallo.
The 2010-11 women’s basketball season begins on Nov. 12 and continues through to the 2011 PBC Tournament, March 2, 5, 6, with the semifinals and finals being hosted by USC Aiken.
2010-11 Peach Belt Conference Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll
No. Team (1st-place votes) Total
1. Lander (12) 144
2. Clayton State (1) 133
3. Francis Marion 108
4. Georgia College 101
5. USC Aiken 98
6. Columbus State 97
7. UNC Pembroke 79
8. North Georgia 62
9. Georgia Southwestern 54
10. Montevallo 48
11. Armstrong Atlantic State 46
t12. Augusta State 22
t12. Flagler 22