WINTER PARK, Fla. (October 17, 2012) - Rollins earned all but five first place votes and became the overwhelming favorite to repeat as Sunshine State Conference champions with the release of the 2012-13 preseason poll Wednesday.
The Tars totaled 188 points and 13 first place nods to finish ahead of Nova Southeastern with 165 points and the remaining first place votes. Tampa (131), Florida Tech (117) and Florida Southern (88) rounded out the top-five.
Rollins was also picked to win the SSC last year, the first indication of what turned out to be the most successful season in program history. Led by five seniors, the Tars won the 13th SSC title in school history and went on to capture a seventh conference tournament crown. Rollins served as top-seed and host of the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament, winning for the first time and becoming the first women's basketball team in conference history to advance to the national semifinals.
The Tars were ranked fifth in the final WBCA Division II Coaches poll, the highest ranking in school history.
Veteran head coach Glenn Wilkes Jr. returns three of the top-five scorers including All-America forward Ashley Jones. The junior, who was also named the SSC Newcomer of the Year, put up a team-high 11.9 points a game while adding 3.9 rebounds a night and totaling 45 assists, 43 steals and 13 blocks. She shot 33 percent from 3-point range (67-200) and set a new school record with eight triples against Barry. Sarah Blackburn is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign, putting up 7.9 points and led the team with 4.5 boards a game.
Tera McDaniel is the lone senior on the team and comes into her final season as one of the nation's top point guards. She was fifth on the team with seven points a game and was seventh in the SSC with 3.3 assists a night. The Orlando native is Wilkes' undisputed floor general and averaged a team-best 23.3 minutes a game last season.
Wilkes is well within reach of the 600-win milestone, holding a career record of 581-189. He is seventh among active Division II coaches in winning percentage and would be just the ninth coach in Division II history to reach 600 victories.
Rollins hosts a pair of October exhibition games to start the season. They will welcome Ave Maria on Saturday, Oct. 27 at noon, followed by a date against the Chilean National Team on Halloween (Oct. 31). The regular season starts Nov. 9-10 at the Florida Tech Tip-off Classic against Puerto Rico Mayaguez and Puerto Rico Rio Piedras.
Fans can follow the Tars all season long on the Tars Sports Network at RollinsSports.com with live video, audio and stats. Locally, Rollins basketball will be carried on 91.5 FM WPRK.
2012-13 SUNSHINE STATE CONFERENCE PRESEASON WOMEN'S BASKETBALL POLL
Rank - Team, Points (1st Place Votes)
1 - Rollins, 188 (13)
2 - Nova Southeastern, 165 (5)
3 - Tampa, 131
4 - Florida Tech, 117
5 - Florida Southern, 88
6 - Eckerd, 83
7 - Lynn, 78
8 - Barry, 74
9 - Saint Leo, 48