By Sam Armstrong
BUENA VISTA, Va. — The Southern Virginia University women's basketball team has been picked to finish tenth in the conference this season, just behind Wesley, in the Capital Athletic Conference preseason coaches' poll.
Entering her fourth season at the helm of the program, Coach Heather Roberts is looking for a turnaround year for the Knights. "This season's goals include finishing with a winning record, making it to the CAC tournament, and playing together as a team," Coach Roberts commented. "If we do those things, we'll have a fun and successful year."
Last year, Southern Virginia pulled out a conference win in its final game against St. Mary's, as well as winning three other non-conference matchups earlier in the year. This season the Knights return 50% of their scoring and will feature a strong lineup to take the next step in making the conference tournament.
The team will look to seniors Shelby Butler, who was fourth in the conference with 13.9 points per game last year, and Jamilla Gambee, who has averaged 2.4 steals per game over her career, to lead the way. Returners Cory Stout, Alexus Barnes, Angel Tuisavura, and Nicole Muse will also contribute their experience and add depth. Newcomer Bryndie Ballam, a junior transfer from Utah State University Eastern, and 6'3" freshman Katie Garrish will also look to make an impact right away.
Cory Stout, So., guard, 5.2 ppg, 2.6 apg
Jamilla Gambee, Sr., wing, 6.2 ppg, 2.4 steals/game
Alexus Barnes, Jr., wing, 6.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Shelby Butler, Sr., forward, 13.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg
"Our players are really working hard and getting better every single day," said Roberts. "With our athleticism, we should be able to push the ball and play an up-tempo game. We are ready to turn the corner this year."
The Knights open the season with back-to-back road games at Bryn Mawr and Clarks Summit on November 16 and 17. The home opener will be on Tuesday, November 21 at 7:00 p.m. against Randolph College, after which conference play begins.
2017-18 CAC Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Christopher Newport (9 first-place votes) - 81 points
2. Mary Washington - 70 points
3. Marymount (1 first-place vote) - 67 points
4. York - 55 points
5. Salisbury - 49 points
6. Frostburg State - 44 points
7. St. Mary's - 26 points
8. Penn State Harrisburg - 23 points
9. Wesley - 19 points
10. Southern Virginia - 16 points