Head coach Chanda Rigby and the Trojans earned the fourth place nod from the league’s coaches after just one season in Rigby’s fast-paced system. Despite posting just a 7-24 record in 2012-13, the Trojans had many bright spots for the future, including a 70.2 points per game mark that led the Sun Belt.
Troy also won its first Sun Belt Championships game since 2009 with a first round win over South Alabama, but the biggest accomplishment in 2012-13 may have been a road upset over regular season champion Middle Tennessee.
Troy returns six players from a season ago who will mix with six newcomers in 2013-14. Rigby’s second recruiting class at Troy featured three true freshman and three junior college transfers that come to Troy as juniors.
Harden, a senior guard from Pompano Beach, Fla., earns the second team nod after being named to the All-Sun Belt second team following last season. Harden averaged 15.3 points per game in 2012-13, the sixth best mark in the conference and the third among returning players in 2013-14.
Beverly-Kelley, a sophomore guard from Adamsville, Ala., earns the third team honor after averaging 12.1 points per game a season ago. Her 376 points were the most by a Troy freshman since 1985-86, while her 60 steals led the team and set a Troy Division I era (1993-present) freshman record.
If Monday’s exhibition over West Florida was any indication, the preseason accolades will be well deserved. The Trojans defeated the Argonauts, 110-71, with Beverly-Kelley leading the way with 24 points and Harden adding 20 of her own.
Troy opens the regular season at Alabama State next Friday, November 8. The Trojans will play their home opener on Monday, November 11, when Florida A&M visit Trojan Arena.
For more information on Troy Athletics, visit TroyTrojans.com. Fans can also find Troy on Twitter and Instagram at @TroyAthletics and on Facebook at Facebook.com/TroyAthletics.
2013-14 Sun Belt Conference Women's Basketball Coaches Preseason Poll
(first place votes)
1. UALR (6) - 95 points
2. WKU (4) - 92 points
3. Arkansas State - 82 points
4. Troy - 52 points
5. South Alabama - 46 points
5. UL-Monroe - 46 points
7. UL-Lafayette - 43 points
8. Georgia State - 41 points
9. Texas State - 39 points
10. UT Arlington - 14 points
Sun Belt Women's Basketball Preseason All-Conference First Team
Taylor Ford (UALR, Sr., G)
Taylor Gault (UALR, Jr., G)
Chastity Gooch (WKU, Jr., F)
Alexis Govan (WKU, Jr., G/F)
Jane Morrill (Arkansas State, Sr., F)
Sun Belt Women's Basketball Preseason All-Conference Second Team
Ashley Ezeh (Texas State, Sr., C)
Joanna Harden (Troy, Sr., G)
Ronneka Robertson (South Alabama, Sr., F)
Ashleigh Simmons (UL-Monroe, Sr., F)
Keke Veal (UL-Lafayette, So., G)
Sun Belt Women's Basketball Preseason All-Conference Third Team
Ashley Beverly-Kelley (Troy, So., G)
Kendra Long (Georgia State, Sr., G)
Bianca McGee (WKU, Sr., G)
Jalen O’Bannon (Arkansas State, So., F)
Alexar Tugler (UL-Monroe, Sr., G)
Sun Belt Conference Women's Basketball Preseason Player of the Year
Alexis Govan (WKU, Jr., G/F)