PORTSMOUTH, Ohio – The Shawnee State women’s basketball program has been selected third in the 2015 Mid-South Conference’s Preseason Coaches’ Poll, as announced by conference officials.
The poll was a collection of all eight coaches in the Mid-South Conference and coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.
As a whole, the defending Mid-South Conference Tournament Champions set third in the rankings, as Campbellsville – last year’s Mid-South regular season champions and the NAIA National Runner-Up – and Cumberland (Tenn.) were the only programs to be ranked ahead of the Bears.
Overall, the Tigers grabbed 49 points and recorded seven first-place votes to lead the poll, with the Bulldogs getting the lone remaining first-place vote and 41 points to place in the second position.
Shawnee State’s aforementioned 34 points put the Bears just ahead of Pikeville and Lindsey Wilson, who were fourth and fifth with 29 and 28 points, respectively. Cumberlands (Ky.), Georgetown, and St. Catharine would close out the remainder of the women’s basketball poll as the back trio scored 23, 13, and 7 points to cap off the poll.
For the 2015-16 season, Shawnee State returns three players, including two starters from a team that finished 25-10 and made an NAIA Second Round appearance.
This includes Ali Zieverink, who piled up a laundry list of accolades last season as her 19.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest allowed the Psychology major to rack up the Mid-South’s Player of the Year award as well as First-Team All-MSC honors, with the current senior adding a Second-Team NAIA All-American honor to her name.
In the backcourt, Abby Feuchter will head up the Bears’ attack once again as the Sport Management major holds the all-time mark for minutes averaged in a career (34.4) and is tied for the all-time lead in assist average for a career (4.4).
For her career, the senior has recorded 452 assists in 3,510 minutes over her playing career, which sit fourth and fifth all-time on the list. She brings back 8.9 points, 4.7 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.5 steals back to the table for Shawnee State.
Beside the pair of Cincinnati-area natives, Jen Arnzen will also return to this year’s roster. Arnzen, who hails from Portsmouth, had a breakout game against Rio Grande last season in putting up 18 points and seven rebounds in an 87-81 victory over the RedStorm on Dec. 3, winning the Dick Hyland Player of the Game honors as a result.
While the Bears lost five seniors from last year’s roster, including a First-Team All-MSC honoree and a NAIA Honorable Mention All-American in Tabby McKinney as well as a Second-Team All-MSC member in Shavon Robinson, Shawnee State has brought in a highly touted recruiting class to fill those gaps left behind by the seniors.
This aforementioned recruiting class includes two players that were ranked as three-stars by ESPN.com, as Ashton Lovely, Jonessa Moore, and Madison Ridout headline the Bears’ newcomers.
Lovely, who was rated out as an 89 overall grade, led Greeneview High School to a 47-7 record during her four years with the Rams and obliterated the school’s all-time scoring mark – girls or boys – with 2,041 points, adding 448 assists and 266 steals during her career for good measure.
As for Moore, the Cincinnati State transfer – who was rated as an 88 overall grade when the junior played at Mount Healthy High School – averaged 22.1 points and 11.6 rebounds per contest on 57.8 percent shooting while posting a double-double in 10 of the 14 contests that she played in for the Surge, with the 6-1 center being named a WBCA (Women’s Basketball Coaches Association) All-America Honorable Mention selection at season’s end.
Ridout, who hails from Jackson, Ohio, is a transfer from Kent State University. The guard, who played in 22 games for the Golden Flashes, averaged 3.4 points and 1.2 rebounds for the Mid-American Conference (MAC) program.
In addition to Lovely, Moore, and Ridout, five more contributors will join the Shawnee State women’s basketball program, as Jenna Brown, Hannah Miller, Maura Hackney, Abby Haislop, and Lydia Poe will also be featured on the Bears’ roster.
Brown, a guard, led Edgewood High School to a 21-4 overall record and the school’s first playoff victory in 15 years. Miller, who attended Ironton St. Joseph High School, was named the Division IV All-Southeast District’s Player of the Year and went on to obtain Division IV First-Team All-Ohio honors for the Flyers.
Hackney, who was a teammate of Moore’s at Cincinnati State, averaged 13.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game in a dozen contests before her season was cut short due to injury.
Haislop and Poe, who like Ridout, both hail from Jackson County, add an impressive set of stats in their own right, as Haislop was a two-time First-Team All-Southern Ohio Conference (SOC) honoree as well as a two-time Division III All-Southeast District honoree at Oak Hill High School, while Poe – who was a teammate of Ridout’s at Jackson – is a two-time All-Southeast District honoree as well as a two-time All-Ohio honoree.
Shawnee State will open the 2015-16 basketball campaign with a home bout against Ohio-Chillicothe on Friday, Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. The Bears will begin up their conference slate 20 days later with another tilt at the Frank & Janis Waller Gymnasium as Shawnee State will host Campbellsville at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19.