PBC Coaches pick Lady Hurricanes sixth in preseason coaches poll

Published 2:33 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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From Staff Reports


AUGUSTA, GA – The accomplishments of last season’s Georgia Southwestern State University women’s basketball team, which included 26 wins and a Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Division II National Tournament, were not enough for coaches around the Peach Belt Conference to keep the Lady Hurricanes near the top of the league when it released the 2023-24 preseason coaches poll Wednesday morning. GSW is picked to finish sixth out of 10 schools.

The Lady Hurricanes are coming off a 26-7 campaign and will have to replace its top three scorers, including all-region selection and PBC Tournament MVP Ava Jones (15.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.1 apg, 2.1 spg). However, they return two-time preseason All-PBC selection senior Kayla Langley. Langley led GSW last season with 6.4 rebounds per game and ranked fourth on the squad with 11.2 points per game. She scored 20 or more points twice and posted four double-doubles. Senior Destiny Garrett started 19 games last season and averaged 3.7 assists in the NCAA Tournament. Junior Kayla Grant appeared in 30 games last year while averaging 14.8 minutes on the floor.

First-year head coach Hana Haden quickly reloaded with a 10-player class for the upcoming season that includes a former Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Player of the Year, four all-americans, six junior college all-region selections and seven players with national college tournament experience. Haden replaced 2022-23 PBC Coach of the Year Justin Payne who took over the women’s program at his alma mater, NCAA Division I Nicholls State University.

GSW opens its season at home on Friday, Nov. 17, against Carson-Newman University at 7 p.m.

Below is the full 2023-24 women’s basketball preseason coaches poll from the PBC (with first place votes in parenthesis).

Rank Team Points
1. North Georgia (8) 80
2. Columbus State 61
3. USC Aiken (1) 59
t4. Augusta (1) 57
t4. Clayton State 57
6. Georgia Southwestern 43
7. Lander 33
8. Flagler 26
9. Georgia College & State University 24
10. USC Beaufort 10