Wildcat basketball programs picked to finish 5th, 7th this season


ABILENE, Texas - We're nearing the month of November which means college basketball season is just around the corner and on Monday, ACU men's and women's teams were in Houston at the 2017 Southland Conference preseason media day.

There, both programs learned the preseason rankings for each team in the Southland Conference, while participating in interviews and other events to kick-off the season.

ACU Women's Basketball - 5 th

The defending 2-time conference regular season champ Wildcat women's program under Julie Goodenough was tabbed to finish 5 th in this year's poll.

The Wildcats are 33-3 in the Southland Conference, won the league outright in 2015-16 (17-1 in the league) and shared the regular-season crown with Central Arkansas in 2016-17 (16-2 in the league). ACU went on to the Women's NIT in each of the last two seasons and beat Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., in last year's first round before falling in a close game at SMU in the second round.

But the Wildcats lost seniors Alexis Mason , twins Suzzy and Lizzy Dimba and post Sydney Shelstead off last year's team. Those four players helped the Wildcats to a combined record of 84-45 over the last four seasons (50-18 in league play), two regular-season titles and two WNIT bids. They also represented 71 percent of the team's scoring last season.

In their first year of eligibility for both the Southland and NCAA tournaments, the Wildcats of sixth-year head coach Julie Goodenough will look to sophomore point guard Breanna Wright and other returners in Sierra Allen , Sara Williamson , Lexi Kirgan , Dominique Golightly , Pamela Herrera and Taudenciah Oluoch to lead a team that will also feature five new freshmen.

ACU Men's Basketball - 7 th

On the men's side, Joe Golding's Wildcats were slated 7 th in this year's preseason poll, being led by All-Conference second team members Jalone Friday and Jaylen Franklin.

The Wildcats beat eventual regular season and tournament champion New Orleans plus traditional powerhouse Stephen F. Austin and last year's pre-season favorite Sam Houston State in last year's 13-16 campaign.

This season, five players return including Friday and Franklin. Joining them are junior forward Jaren Lewis , seniors Drake Green and Isaiah Tripp , juniors Hayden Howell and Hayden Farquhar , sophomores Peyton Ricks, B.J. Maxwell, and Trey Lenox as well as redshirt freshman post Kolton Kohl. ACU also added graduate transfer Tevin Foster to the lineup at point guard.

Both teams open the season at home on November 10.

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