(CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky.) - The Thomas More College women's basketball team was picked as the preseason favorite in the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) and is ranked in the Top-15 in both NCAA Division III national polls.
The Saints were picked to capture their eighth-straight PAC Championship Tournament title in 2013-14 in the conference's coaches' poll. Thomas More and third-year head coach Jeff Hans received 99 points and nine of the 10 first-place votes.
"It is an honor to be selected as the top team in this season's preseason coaches' poll," said Hans. "Our past and present players and coaches have worked hard to get the Thomas More women's basketball program to this point. With the quality of teams and coaches in our conference, we're preparing for a very competitive and exciting season. We understand that there is a lot of hard work ahead of us to achieve a PAC championship."
Thomas More is ranked in both national polls as it is ranked No. 8 in the internet website, D3hoops.com's preseason Top-25 and No. 15 in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) USA Today preseason Top-25.
The Saints return three starters and nine letter winners from the 2012-13 squad that posted a 27-2 record, including an 18-0 record in the PAC. Starters returning are senior guard Katie Kitchen (Alexandria, Ky./Campbell County), senior forward Moriah Corey (Louisville, Ky./Butler) and junior forward Jenny Burgoyne (Cincinnati, Ohio/McAuley). Kitchen was a first team All-PAC selection last season as she averaged 10.9 points per game and had 4.0 rebounds per game and dished out 42 assists, while recording 56 steals. Corey was second on the team in rebounding last season as she pulled down 5.9 rpg and had 11 blocks and 5.4 ppg. Burgoyne was third on the team in scoring a season ago as she averaged 1.4 ppg and led the team in rebounding with 6.0 rpg, while blocking 13 shots and recording 44 steals.
Hans also returns four reserves that average more than 15 minutes per game as senior guard Devin Beasley (Burlington, Ky./Conner), junior guard Sydni Wainscott (Erlanger, Ky./Simon Kenton), sophomore forward Alexa Santamaria (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) and junior guard Stephanie Krusling (Cincinnati, Ohio/McNicholas). Beasley was an honorable mention All-PAC selection in 2013 as she led the team in assists with 101, while averaging 8.9 ppg and recording 28 steals. Wainscott averaged 6.4 ppg and had 43 steals and 56 assists, Santamaria pulled down 3.7 rpg and scored 4.2 ppg, while blocking 12 shots and Krusling averaged 3.4 ppg and had 44 steals and pulled down 2.7 rpg.
The Saints have added nine newcomers to the roster, including a Division I transfer in sophomore guard/forward Sydney Moss (St. Albans, W.Va./Boone County (Ky.)). Moss was named to the 2013 All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) Freshman Team and the 2013 Postseason Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) All-Tournament Team in her lone season on the Gainesville, Florida campus.
Thomas More opens the 2013-14 season on November 15 when it plays Wittenberg University in the first round of the Damon's/Hampton Inn Tip-Off Tournament in Wilmington, Ohio and will tip-off the PAC season on December 4 with a road game at Grove City College.