HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (10/13/08) Forward Amber Jackson and guard Brittney James were named Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference, and the North Texas women’s basketball team was picked to finish third in the West Division. The teams were announced at the league's annual media days.
Jackson was named to the preseason first team after exploding onto the scene last year as one of the league’s most potent forces. Last season she was named to the All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team as she piled up 416 points and finished seventh in the league in scoring and fourth in field goal percentage.
Jackson enters the season 83 points away from becoming just the 11th player in school history to score 1,000 points for her career.
James was tabbed to the preseason second team as she is coming off the most prolific offensive season by a North Texas sophomore since the 1996-97 season. James had 38 3-pointers, 57 steals, and was the only player to start all 32 games last season for North Texas. Against South Alabama James piled up 33 points, a career-high and the 11th most in school history in a game.
Only North Texas, UALR, and Western Kentucky had two players named to either the first or second team preseason all-conference.
The Mean Green was picked to finish behind Arkansas State and UALR in the West Division. ULM was fourth, followed by New Orleans, Denver, and Louisiana-Lafayette. Middle Tennessee was the East Division favorite, edging out defending conference champion Western Kentucky. South Alabama was picked third, FIU fourth, Troy and then Florida Atlantic.
Dominique Duck of Western Kentucky was named as the Preseason Player of the Year.
North Texas opens the season under first-year head coach Shanice Stephens on November 17 at Marshall.
The 2009 Sun Belt Conference Tournament is being played in Hot Springs, Arkansas at the Summit Arena this season from March 7-10.
Preseason Coaches Poll
As voted on by all 13 league head coaches
First place votes in parenthesis
1. Middle Tennessee (6) 71
2. WKU (6) 68
3. South Alabama 48
4. FIU (1) 43
5. Troy 24
6. Florida Atlantic 19
T-1. Arkansas State (8) 83
T-1. UALR (5) 83
3. North Texas 57
4. ULM 50
5. New Orleans 38
6. Denver 34
7. Louisiana-Lafayette 19
Anshel Cooper (UALR, Jr., G)
Kim Sitzmann (UALR, Jr., G)
Veronica Smith (Arkansas State, Jr., G)
Amber Jackson (North Texas, Sr., F)
Dominique Duck (WKU, Sr., F)
Monika Bosilj (FIU, Jr., G)
Chelsia Lymon (Middle Tennessee, Jr., G)
Brittany Helm (New Orleans, Jr., G)
Brittney James (North Texas, Jr., G)
Arnika Brown (WKU, So., F)
Shay Scott (Arkansas State, So., F)
Lottie Moore (ULM, Sr., G)
Shakira Nettles (South Alabama, Jr., G)
Kylie Morrissy (Troy, Sr., G/F)
Kenzie Rich (WKU, Jr., G)