Southland preseason favorite Southeastern headlines all-conference selections

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Hailey Giaratano
(Photo by Erik Williams/Southland Communications)

Lady Lions lead the way with three preseason all-conference selections

FRISCO, Texas – Southeastern was voted the preseason favorite to earn the Southland Conference women’s basketball title in 2021-22, the league announced Tuesday afternoon.

After earning their highest seed in Southland tournament history in 2020-21, the Lady Lions captured 13 first-place votes and 168 points to top this year’s preseason poll.

The Lady Lions went 11-8 overall and 10-5 in conference play and return 11 key players for the 2021-22 season. SLU finished the season second in conference play for field goal percentage (.444) and three-point field goal percentage (.392). SLU garnered three preseason all-conference sections in automatic first-teamers Morgan Carrier and Hailey Giaratano and second-teamer Caitlyn Williams.

Coming off an 11-11 campaign, HBU is the No. 2 team earning one first-place vote and 148 points. The Huskies return eight key players including 2020-21 first-team preseason all-conference honoree Timia Johnson and preseason honoree Kennedy Wilson. HBU finished third in the league with a .715 free throw percentage and fifth in the league with 65.2 ppg.

UIW earned the third spot in the preseason poll with 147 points. Jaaucklyn Moore finished her freshman campaign first on the team with 11.9 ppg, 2.7 assists per game and 10 total blocks. She is one of nine letterwinners returning for the 2021-22 season.

Nicholls is tabbed fourth after receiving one first place vote and 136 points. The Colonels have qualified for post season play for 10 consecutive years. Nicholls accounted for two all-conference honorees in automatic first-teamer Chelsea Cain and second-teamer Chyna Allen. Along with five other key players returning for the 2021-22 season.

A&M-Corpus Christi and McNeese were ranked fifth and sixth. New Orleans and Northwestern State round out the 2021-22 preseason poll ranked seventh and eighth.

The preseason poll is voted upon by the head coach and sports information director from each Southland school. Each individual ranks the other seven teams in their predicted order of regular season finish. Ranking one’s own school is not permitted.

The Southland women’s basketball season gets underway Tuesday, Nov. 9, and will culminate at the 2021 Southland Conference Tournament, March 10-13 in Katy, Texas. All eight schools kick off conference play in the Southland Conference Preseason Tip-Off Event in Katy, Texas, Jan. 3-5.

Southeastern produced three selections on the 2021-22 Southland Conference Women’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference teams.

In total, six institutions are represented among the preseason all-conference roster, with all five first-team honorees serving as automatic selections after earning all-conference honors this past season.

The Lady Lions garnered two automatic first-team nods in Carrier and Giaratano. The pair was named to the 2020-21 all-conference third team.

Last season, Carrier averaged 12.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game on 45.1-percent shooting from the field and 43.3 percent from beyond the arc. Teammate Giaratano helped guide SLU to a 11-8 record in the regular season. Giaratano averaged 11 ppg in league play and sat first on the team with an 83.3 percent from the free-throw line.

Williams joined them with a spot on the preseason second team after starting six games in conference play and averaging 10.9 points per game on 62.3-percent shooting from the field.

HBU placed Jefferson on the first team after earning a spot on the 2020-21 All-Conference first team. Last season, Jefferson sat third in the Southland with 15.0 ppg and ranked fourth in steals with 2.8 per game. Wilson was selected to the second team as she led the Huskies with 31.3 minutes played over 22 games on a 37.0 percent shooting from the arc and 3.5 assists per game.

Nicholls accounted for two all-conference honorees in automatic first teamer Cain and second-teamer Allen. Cain finished second in the league with 18 ppg and 9.3 rebounds per game and earned a spot on the 2020-21 All-Conference First Team and All-Tournament Team. Allen finished third on the team with 8.8 ppg, scored in double figures 10 times, including a career-high 19 at HBU and registered 18 points in the tournament win over Abilene Christian.

McNeese returns five letterwinners for the 2021-22 season including first-team honoree Divine Tanks. Tanks averaged 10.3 ppg., 7.3 rebounds per game and paced the Cowgirls with five double doubles and a 43.7 field goal percentage.

UIW and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi will round out the preseason all-conference awards with one second-team honoree each. Second-teamer Moore led the way for the Cardinals, while Westbrook represented the Islanders on the second team.

The preseason teams were chosen by a poll of the conference’s head coaches. Voters were not allowed to select their institution’s players.

The Southland women’s basketball season gets underway Tuesday, Nov. 9. All eight schools kick off conference play in the Southland Conference Preseason Tip-Off Event in Katy, Texas, Jan. 3-5., and will culminate at the 2021 Southland Conference Tournament, March 10-13.

2020-21 Southland Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll

School (First-place votes) Total
1. Southeastern (13) 168
2. HBU (1) 148
3. UIW 147
4. Nicholls (1) 136
5. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 133
6. McNeese 110
7. New Orleans 90
8. Northwestern State 89

2021-22 Southland Conference Women’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference Teams

First Team School Pos. Class Hometown
Timia Jefferson * HBU G Jr. Mansfield, Texas
Divine Tanks * McNeese F Jr. Lake Charles, La.
Chelsea Cain * Nicholls F Jr. Prairieville, La.
Morgan Carrier * Southeastern G/F Sr. New Iberia, La.
Hailey Giaratano * Southeastern G So. Ponchatoula, La.

Second Team School Pos. Class Hometown
Kennedy Wilson, HBU G So. Mansfield, Texas
Jaaucklyn Moore, UIW G So. Round Rock, Texas
Chyna Allen, Nicholls G Sr. Gulfport, Miss.
Caitlyn Williams, Southeastern F Sr. Brusly, La.
Alecia Westbrook, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi F/C Jr. Kansas City, Mo.
* Automatic Selection, 2020-21 All-Conference Team Member

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