Coming off back-to-back 20-win seasons, the Roanoke College women’s basketball team is looking for a three-peat, as they tip-off the 2010-11 season this weekend at the Randolph-Macon Invitational.
The Maroons, picked second in the 2010-11 ODAC Pre-season Poll behind Washington & Lee, also recently received 13 votes in the D3Hoops.com Pre-Season Top-25 Poll. Roanoke is the only ODAC school mentioned in the first national rankings of the season.
The Maroons were 24-4 in 2009-2010, ending with the program’s 11th NCAA Tournament appearance. Head Coach Susan Dunagan won her second-straight ODAC Coach of the Year award last February while boasting a program-best three First-Team All-ODAC selections.
“I feel good about us being picked second,” said Dunagan, entering her 30th year at the helm of the Maroons. “Washington & Lee … returns all of their players this season and they once again will be the team to beat. [They] deserve their No. 1 ranking.”
Despite losing three key components from last year’s team, Roanoke (24-4, 19-1 ODAC) will be returning a solid core of players this season, as they make a run at a conference-best 14th ODAC crown. Looking to make an impact are senior point guard Kendra Porter (7.0 ppg, 43 steals, Dudley), senior center Jordan Gholson (12.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 61 blocked shots, Louisa County), junior Nicci Moats (9.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg, Lord Botetourt), senior Kylie Lucas (5.3 ppg, Fort Defiance), senior Rebecca Bays (4.9 ppg, William Byrd), senior Bethany Holland (F, Buffalo Gap).
“These players have been working hard and are stepping up [from] where they left off last year,” added Dunagan. Others who will see action this season include Sydney Webb (Sr, G, Carroll County), Hannah Davidson (So, G, Pulaski County), Rachel Dellehunt (So, G, Ichabod Crane), Laurel Hankins (Fr, G, Bland County), Gwin Paxton (Fr, G, Cape Hatteras Secondary) and Morgan Lazenby (Fr, G, Glenvar).
As for the team’s strengths, Dunagan says her Maroons have “good speed. We will be able to run more and pound the ball inside, plus our tough defense, which has been our trademark for the last several years. We are still a work in progress.”
The coach noted that as far as any weaknesses, they included outside shooting and rebounding. “We will be exciting to watch and our fans will see some great teamwork,” said Dunagan. “It’s going to be entertaining.”
The women tip-off the 2010-11 season in Ashland at the Randolph-Macon Invitational this weekend (Nov. 19-20) against Ferrum and Mary Washington, with their first home game on December 1 at the Bast Center against Eastern Mennonite.