Elon Women’s Basketball Picked Second in CAA Preseason Poll; Burnett, Rhodes Earn Preseason Honors

ARLINGTON, Va. – After another postseason trip to the WNIT last season, the Elon women’s basketball team has been selected second in the 2016-17 CAA Predicted Order of Finish. The Colonial Athletic Association released the poll, as voted by the league’s 10 head coaches, along with the Preseason All-CAA teams today, Oct. 25, in conjunction with CAA Basketball Media Day at the Key Bridge Marriott. Phoenix guard Shay Burnett was selected to the Preseason All-CAA First Team, while forward Jenifer Rhodes earned honorable mention.

Elon had another successful year in 2015-16 under head coach Charlotte Smith, who is in her sixth season, going 18-13 overall and 11-7 in conference play. The Phoenix returns four starters from a year ago, including Burnett, who averaged 12.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game en route to All-CAA First Team honors last year. Preseason honorable mention Rhodes returns for her senior year after posting 8.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game off the bench. Junior center Malaya Johnson bring 8.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game to the frontcourt, while senior point guard Essence Baucom bring her 3.7 assists and 8.3 points per game to the backcourt. Also returning for the maroon and gold is senior guard Lauren Brown who averaged 9.1 points last season.

The 2016-17 squad is made up of seven very experienced returners, one transfer and four freshmen. The entire team has already experienced playing together before the season even begins after a trip to Italy in August that included international competition.

James Madison, the three-time defending CAA champions, was picked to win it all again in 2017 with redshirt senior guard Precious Hall tabbed as the 2016-17 CAA Preseason Player of the Year. The Dukes were the overall favorite with 76 points and seven first-place votes. Elon tallied 70 points and two first-place votes in second, while Drexel was picked third with 68 points and one first-place vote. It was close among the next four teams as Hofstra (49 points) was picked fourth, Delaware and William & Mary tied for fifth with 47 points each and Northeastern was seventh with 41 points. Rounding out the 10 team poll were College of Charleston (19 points), UNCW (17 points) and Towson (16 points).

The Preseason All-CAA First Team was comprised of Burnett, JMU’s Hall, Drexel’s Sarah Curran, Hofstra’s Ashunae Durant and CofC’s Bre Bolden.

Voted to the Preseason All-CAA Second Team were: JMU’s Da’Lishia Griffin, Delaware’s Erika Brown, Towson’s Raven Bankston, William & Mary’s Marlena Tremba and Alexandra Masaquel.

Receiving honorable mention were: Rhodes, JMU’s Kayla Cooper-Williams, Drexel’s Jessica Pellechio, Northeastern’s Jess Genco, William & Mary’s Abby Rendle and UNCW’s Jasmine Steele.

Elon begins its season on Saturday, Oct. 29, with an exhibition against Wingate and officially opens play on Friday, Nov. 13, at Green Bay in Green Bay, Wis., as part of the Preseason WNIT. Conference play tips-off on January 2 and concludes on March 1. All 10 teams head to the 2017 CAA Women’s Basketball Championship, March 8-11, at the JMU Convocation Center in Harrisonburg, Va.

In addition to the preseason predicted order of finish and awards, the CAA announced that Elon’s home game on Sunday, Jan. 15, against Drexel at 3 p.m. and road game at JMU on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 3 p.m. will both be televised on the American Sports Network (ASN).

Season tickets for the 2016-17 season are currently on sale through the Elon Athletics Ticket Office. Fans can purchase tickets online or call the ticket office at 336-278-6750.

2016-17 CAA Women’s Basketball Predicted Order of Finish
1. James Madison
2. Elon
3. Drexel
4. Hofstra
T-5. Delaware
T-5. William & Mary
7. Northeastern
8. College of Charleston
10. Towson

2016-17 CAA Women’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference Teams
First Team

Bre Bolden, CofC%^
Shay Burnett, Elon*
Sarah Curran, Drexel*
Ashunae Durant, Hofstra^
Precious Hall, James Madison&

Second Team
Raven Bankston, Towson#
Erika Brown, Delaware#
Da’Lishia Griffin, James Madison
Alexandra Masaquel, William & Mary^
Marlena Tremba, William & Mary#

& 2014-15 CAA Player of the Year; missed 2015-16 with injury
% 2015-16 CAA Defensive Player of the Year
*1st Team All-CAA in 2015-16
^ 2nd Team All-CAA in 2015-16
#3rd Team All-CAA in 2015-16

Honorable Mention: Kayla Cooper-Williams, James Madison; Jess Genco, Northeastern; Jessica Pellechio, Drexel; Abby Rendle, William & Mary; Jenifer Rhodes, Elon; Jasmine Steele, UNCW

CAA Preseason Player of the Year: Precious Hall, James Madison