HARROGATE, TN -- The Lincoln Memorial University women's basketball team has been selected to finish sixth in the South Atlantic Conference this season, league officials announced Wednesday afternoon with the unveiling of the Preseason SAC Coaches' Poll.
The Lady Railsplitters tallied forty total points in the poll to notch sixth in the preseason rankings.
Defending South Atlantic Conference regular-season and tournament champions Wingate University was the definitive favorite to capture the 2012-13 SAC crown, as the Bulldogs earned seven of the ten first-place votes en route to garnering the top spot in the preseason poll. WU finished last season 23-7 overall, advancing all the way to the regional final of the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Championship.
Lenoir-Rhyne University grabbed one first-place vote and 66 total points to earn the No.2 spot in the poll. The Bears finished third in the league last season with a 19-9 mark.
Newberry College was voted third in the poll, earning one first-place vote and 58 total points. Tusculum College was selected fourth in the poll a season removed from making an appearance in the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Championship.
Catawba College grabbed the final first-place vote, as the Indians were selected fifth in the poll.
LMU sat in sixth, followed by No.7 Carson-Newman, No.8 Anderson, No.9 Mars Hill and No.10 Brevard to round out the poll.
The Lady Railsplitters head into the 2012-13 campaign fresh off the heels of a 14-13 mark last season, the first winning season since 2004-05. LMU finished seventh in the South Atlantic Conference at the conclusion of the regular season before their year was brought to a halt by Catawba in the quarterfinals of the SAC Tournament.
Heading into the second year of the Roger Hodge era, The Lady Railsplitters will be bolstered by the return of six letterwinners and two of their top-five scorers from last season. Highlighting that group, Ralissa Nelson returns for her senior season at Lincoln Memorial. Nelson (Janesville, Wisconsin) started and played in 26 games last season, scoring 8.2 points per contest and corralling 5.8 boards per game. She also recorded 83 assists, 19 blocks and 13 steals.
MaRanda Boddie will return for her junior season at Lincoln Memorial. The Springfield, Ohio native notched 7.4 points per game, while leading the 2011-12 squad with 9.3 rebounds per. Boddie also tallied 44 blocks, good for second on the team, and 17 steals.
With the addition of ten new players, LMU will look to continue their potent offensive attack, which led the South Atlantic Conference in scoring at 71.4 points per game last season. Along with that category, the Lady Railsplitters led the league in field goal percentage (.439), field goal percentage defense (.355), blocked shots (142), assists (416), assist/turnover ratio (0.81) and defensive rebounds (869) while ranking second in the league in three-point field goal percentage (.342) and rebounding offense (43.8).
The Lady Railsplitters kickoff their season on November 6th with an exhibition contest at Middle Tennessee State University. The regular season will open on November 9th against Erskine College in the Holiday Inn Middlesboro SAC/Conference Carolinas Challenge. South Atlantic Conference play is slated to start on November 28th, as the Lady Railsplitters head to Greeneville, Tennessee to take on Tusculum College.