Concord Tabbed Fourth in WVIAC Preseason Poll - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Concord Tabbed Fourth in WVIAC Preseason Poll

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The Concord University women's basketball team received two first-place votes and a total of 167 points as the Mountain Lions were predicted to finish in fourth place in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference this season, as announced in the preseason coaches' poll released Thursday by the league office.

Fairmont State was picked to win the league after garnering 218 points (11 first-place votes). Glenville State was slotted second with 190 points (one first-place vote) followed in the top-five by West Liberty (174 points / one first first-place vote), Concord (167 points / two first-place votes) and West Virginia Wesleyan in fifth place (152 points).

Rounding out the top-10 are Shepherd (149 points), Davis & Elkins (134 points), Pitt-Johnstown (133 points), Seton Hill (127 points) and Charleston (107 points). West Virginia State (67), Wheeling Jesuit (59), Alderson-Broaddus (49), Ohio Valley (41) and Bluefield State (33) occupied spots 11-15.

The Mountain Lions are coming off of a 22-7 season that saw CU advance all the way to the semifinals of the WVIAC Tournament before losing in overtime to Glenville State. The 22 wins were the most by the program since Concord began competing at the NCAA Division II level.

Head coach Kenny Osborne is back for his 13th season on the Concord sidelines. Osborne has compiled a record of 183-158 (.537) in his time with the Mountain Lions. Assistant coach Jamie Cluesman also returns for another season at her alma mater.

On the court, Concord returns two starters in junior forward Andrea Bertrand and junior guard Amanda Smith. Last season, Bertrand earned All-WVIAC honors after averaging 13.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.3 steals and a field goal percentage of 50.2 percent in 28 starts. Smith started 27 of 28 games, shooting 46.4 percent from the floor while averaging 9.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists a night.

The Mountain Lions also welcome back six reserves who appeared in at least 12 games each last season.

Sophomore guard Rachel Artrip played the most of any non-starter in 2011-12, averaging 13.9 minutes a game in 28 contests. Artrip led CU in blocks with 12 and is the Mountain Lions' top returning three-point threat (14-for-49 as a freshman). Senior guard Tanisha Williams was one of Concord's top reserves a year ago, playing in 28 games with two starts. Williams shot 50 percent from the field and scored four points a game in addition to grabbing 2.1 rebounds a night.

Sophomore swingman Jacqueline Kestner played in 22 games a season ago, scoring 1.7 with 1.8 rebounds per game. Senior guard Katy Summerville appeared in 15 games as a junior. Junior center Sammie Webster and junior guard Ashley Brown are also back for the 2012-13 season.  The duo appeared in 17 and 12 games, respectively a year ago.

Concord's 2012 recruiting class consisted of three transfers and a six-woman freshmen class.

Sophomore guard Stephanie Wagner started 19 of 26 games played as a freshman at West Virginia State, averaging 9.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 0.7 steals in 29.8 minutes played per game. She scored at least 10 points in a game 13 times.

Junior guard Logan Castlebury comes to Concord after playing in 25 games over two seasons at South Carolina-Upstate. Freshman guard Leslie Mack is a former three-time all-state performer who began her collegiate career at High Point University. Lauren Estes' junior season will be her first with the Maroon and Gray.

Concord's freshman class consists of Mack, guard Amber Chadwick, guard Elizabeth Evans, center Ashley Mullins, center Allison Mullins and center Brooke Gee.

In addition to a grueling 22-game WVIAC Schedule, Concord will also play non-conference games against Indiana (Pa.), Clarion, West Virginia Tech, UVA-Wise, Virginia Intermont and Lincoln Memorial.

The Mountain Lions' 2012-13 season officially begins with a pair of games against IUP and Clarion at the WVIAC-PSAC Challenge Nov. 9-10. Concord opens its home schedule Nov. 14 at 5:30 p.m. against West Virginia Tech in the Carter Center.

Concord plays at Marshall 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the team's lone exhibition game of the year.