ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The Union women's basketball team is projected to finish third in the Appalachian Athletic Conference this season, according to the preseason coaches' poll released by the league on Wednesday.
The Bulldogs received one first-place vote and 96 total voting points to come in third. Milligan (Tenn.) and Tennessee Wesleyan are the co-favorites as each collected five first-place votes and 113 total points.Reinhardt (Ga.) and Virginia Intermont round out the top five at 82 and 77 points, respectively.
Bryan (Tenn.), Montreat (N.C.), Columbia (S.C.), Point (Ga.), Truett-McConnell (Ga.) and St. Andrews (N.C.) make up the rest of the field.
Last season, Milligan won the AAC regular-season championship with a 16-2 league mark, while Reinhardt won the conference tournament. Both teams advanced to the NAIA National Championship Tournament.
Union ended the 2012-13 season with 21-10 overall record and 12-6 conference mark, putting it third. The Bulldogs advanced to the conference tournament championship game.
The Bulldogs return three starters in Amber Taylor, Alyson Roberts and Haley Perkins as well as Lydia Nash, who started 11 games last season. Taylor averaged 11.1 points per game and made the AAC All-Tournament Team, while Perkins averaged 10.9 points and made the All-AAC Third Team and was the league's Freshman of the Year. Nash averaged 9.0 points per game and also made the All-Freshman Team.
Union opens the 2013-14 campaign on Nov. 5 against Asbury (Ky.). Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Robsion Arena.
The 2014 AAC Tournament is set for Feb. 26-March 1, 2014, at the MeadowView Marriott in Kingsport, Tenn.
Predicted Finish Team (First-Place Votes) Total Points*
T1 Milligan (5) 113
T1 Tennessee Wesleyan (5) 113
3 Union (1) 96
4 Reinhardt 82
5 Virginia Intermont 77
6 Bryan 69
7 Montreat 62
8 Columbia 40
9 Point 35
10 Truett-McConnell 22
11 St. Andrews 17
*-Coaches ranked teams in predicted order of finish from 1-11. Each team received 11 points for a first-place vote, 10 points for second, etc.