College women’s basketball: Catawba the SAC favorite

Published 10:35 pm Thursday, November 2, 2023


Staff report

Catawba women’s basketball has been picked as the favorite to win the South Atlantic Conference by the league’s head coaches.

Catawba got 10 of 13 first-place votes. Carson-Newman got two, while Lincoln Memorial got one.

Catawba (29-6) made history in the 2022-23 season, finishing with a No. 6 national ranking, a regional championship, a Final Four appearance and a program-record for wins.

Catawba’s Lyrik Thorne and Janiya Downs (South Rowan) are preseason first team All-SAC picks. Thorne was conference and regional player of the year.

Catawba’s Sara McIntosh is a second team pick.

1 Catawba (10) 141

2 Carson-Newman (2) 124

3 Wingate 122

4 Anderson 106

5 Lenoir-Rhyne 105

6 Lincoln Memorial (1) 92

7 Limestone 71

8 Tusculum 63

9 UVA Wise 57

10 Coker 44

11 Newberry 37

12 Mars Hill 29

13 Emory & Henry 23

2023-24 South Atlantic Conference Women’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference

First Team

Janiya Downs, Catawba

Lyrik Thorne, Catawba

Blaikley Crooks, Lenoir-Rhyne

Emily Harman, Lenoir-Rhyne

Lindsey Taylor, Carson-Newman

Braelyn Wykle, Carson-Newman

Second Team

Sara McIntosh, Catawba

Hannah Clark, Wingate

Emily Hege, Wingate

Diamond McDowell, Anderson

Alexa Smiddy, Lincoln Memorial

Caitlyn Ross, Virginia-Wise

Third Team

Lauren Flowers, Lincoln Memorial

Kalisha Hill, Limestone

Kristynn Knight, Coker

Campbell Penland, Carson-Newman

Brittney Stafford, Anderson

Breanna Yarber, Emory & Henry