The USA South Athletic Conference announced the women's basketball coaches preseason polls for the upcoming 2017-18 season. The conference welcomes new members Berea College, Brevard College, and Pfeiffer University. Brevard and Pfeiffer will not be included in the polls as they are each reclassifying from NCAA Division II and are not eligible for championship honors this season.
LaGrange is third in the West Division preseason poll. Maryville, the defending USA South West Division champion, and Piedmont, the defending USA South Tournament champions tied for first in the poll. Following the Pantherw was Huntingdon, Berea, Covenant, Agnes Scott, and Wesleyan.
"I am a little surprised that we were picked third in the USA South Conference West pre-season women's basketball poll," said head coach Lee Buchanan. "I appreciate the votes from the other coaches but we are not as concerned with where we start the year, but more importantly where we finish in February."
LC was 17-10 last season. Buchanan is starting his fifth season with the Panthers. He is 68-40 at LaGrange and has a 444-268 overall record in 24 seasons as a head coach. The Panthers return seven upperclassmen on the 2017-18 roster. Senior guard Lauren led the team in scoring last season with a 11.4 points per game average. Junior forward Marilauren Farr averaged a team-best 6.7 rebounds per game, while scoring 9.7 points per game. Senior post player Jeris Johnson led the team with 25 blocks and averaged 7.0 points per game.
Ferrum, the defending division champion, was the top vote-getter in the East Division. Averett, Greensboro, N.C. Wesleyan, William Peace, Methodist, Salem, Meredith, and Mary Baldwin followed Ferrum.
The USA South women's basketball regular season gets underway on Wednesday, Nov. 15th as nine teams take on non-League opposition. The Panthers open the next night, facing Bob Jones at the Huntingdon Classic.
The 2018 USA South Women's Basketball Tournament will once again be conducted exclusively on campus sites. The top-six seeded teams from each division will advance to the tournament.