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Georgetown College women's basketball team starts the season almost where it ended a year ago. The then No. 11 Tigers had a terrific run at the NAIA National Women's Basketball Tournament, advancing all the way to the Fab Four for this first time. Wednesday afternoon it was announced that GC is preseason No. 6.
"Rankings are great for about the first five minutes when they come out," laughed Tiger coach Andrea McCloskey. "It is nice for our players to see that and know they have earned that respect, but now we have to go out and prove it again. No easy task inside our Mid-South Conference."
The MSC had five teams in the Top 25 and a sixth team receiving votes. Shawnee State University, which is preseason conference favorite, is second in the national poll. Georgetown, despite graduating five players, did receive the second place nod from all the league coaches as well as garnering two of the 11 first place votes. The team is the second highest in the national poll, while Campbellsville is sitting preseason No. 13. Lindsey Wilson College (17th) and University of the Cumberlands (18th) round out the Top 25 for MSC teams. Newcomer Cumberland University is receiving votes.
"It is an honor to be seen by the conference coaches as an early favorite," McCloskey said. "People see that we graduated five players and you think rebuilding year. Fortunately, for us most of our statistical production was coming from our then juniors and sophomores. Now they are our seniors and juniors ready to play again.
"The target on our back has gotten bigger and every time we step on the floor we are going to have to prove ourselves."
Offensively, the Tigers return two All-American guards in juniors Kourtney Tyra and Andrea Howard. Both put up a lot of points and have the ability to make defenses focus in on them. Another pure shooter McCloskey gets back after a season ended by a knee injury is junior Lindsay Fultz. The Anderson County native has great range on the floor as well as a sense for the basketball in rebounding. Devon Golden and Lizza Jonas provide versatility and consistency to the lineup. Both have experience from post to guard, making for a difficult match up. Jonas is also GC's best defensive player returning and can guard anyone on the floor. Devanny King provides a true post presence, and she got a lot of minutes her freshman year.
"It's exciting the group we have back," McCloskey said. "Mix those in with our transfer Olivia Coleman and our true freshman - Jessica Foster, Mykal Farris, Tena Johnson and Haley Armstrong - and we should have a very dynamic team.
"The fun part about it was we were successful with a certain style this past season, but this year, with this team, I think we will play a completely different style. It's fun as a coach to see the puzzle pieces and start deciding how they all fit together and work best together."
The Tigers have played a pair of exhibitions games this past weekend and will play one more against Eastern Kentucky University on Nov. 2 before tipping it off in the 19th Annual Habitat Classic Nov. 9-10.