Lady Wildcats preseason No. 3 pick in ASC East

RICHARDSON, Texas – UT Dallas and Mary Hardin-Baylor have been picked to repeat as the 2019-20 American Southwest Conference East and West Division winners, respectively, following a vote of the league’s head coaches and directors of sports information, the ASC office announced Wednesday.

UT Dallas (25-5, 14-2 ASC) received 141 points and 21 of 24 first-place votes to lead the East Division. Polly Thomason, the five-time ASC East Division Coach of the Year, and the Comets advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship last season after winning the 2019 ASC Championship.

Mary Hardin-Baylor (27-4, 15-1 ASC) was picked to win the West Division with 139 points and 20 out of 24 first place votes. The Cru, under head coach West Division Mark Morefield, were the runners-up at the ASC Championship a year ago, but made a run to the third round of the NCAA Division III Championship.

In the East, East Texas Baptist (23-4, 14-2 ASC) was picked second with 117 points and three first place. The Tigers were followed by Louisiana College (11-14, 7-9 ASC), Ozarks (13-13, 9-7 ASC), LeTourneau (6-19, 3-13 ASC) and Belhaven (8-17, 4-12 ASC).


“We’re looking forward to an exciting season,” said second-year Head Coach Matt LeBato. “We appreciate those votes, but the preseason polls are really more of a guessing game.”


The Lady Cats lost all five top scorers from last season’s 11-14 (8-9 ASC) team.


“Third may be fair, considering last season’s results and what the league is returning,” LeBato added. “Of course we’re more interested in what the polls will show at the end of February.”

Hardin-Simmons (19-8, 11-5 ASC) was selected as the runner-up in the West Division with 116 points and three first place votes. The Cowgirls were followed by Howard Payne (11-15, 8-8 ASC) after receiving a first place vote, Concordia Texas (8-17, 4-12 ASC), McMurry (8-18, 5-11 ASC) and Sul Ross State (5-20, 3-13 ASC).

The 2019-20 ASC Women’s Basketball Watch List is composed of 30 players nominated by the head coaches and features all five all-conference selections from last season, 18 all-division recipients and eight individual award winners.


Returning LC forwards Alexis Lege (Jr.), Kristen Breaux (Sr.) and Morgan Blades (So.) made the Watch List, and all three will play a vital role on a Lady Wildcats team that will have 13 freshmen and two sophomores.


“Morgan, Kristen and Alexis will be relied on heavily this year,” LeBato said. “Especially from a maturity standpoint. All three have bought in and created a culture that we all enjoy being part of every day.”

Belhaven has completed its final year of transition into Division III athletics and will be eligible for the ASC title and selection to the NCAA Championship for the first time

The 2019-20 season marks the 24th in league history. Regular season play begins Friday, November 8. The ASC membership will take on competition from 17 different NCAA Division III conferences, including – American Collegiate Athletic Association, American Rivers Conference, College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, Landmark Conference, Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Midwest Conference, Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference, Northwest Conference, Southern Athletic Association, Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, State University of New York Athletic Conference, St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, University Athletic Association and USA South Athletic Conference. The ASC will also play members from NCAA Division I, Division II, NAIA, NCCAA and USCAA.

The three-day, eight-team, single-elimination conference tournament is slated for February 27-29 at the site of the East Division No. 1 seed. The ASC Championship Tournament features the top four seeds from both divisions. An automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championship will be on the line.


ASC Women’s Basketball Preseason Polls
East Division

No.  Team (First-place votes) Pts.   2018-19 Record (ASC)
1. UT Dallas (21) 141 25-5 (14-2)
2. East Texas Baptist (3) 117 23-4 (13-3)
3. Louisiana College 80 11-14 (7-9)
4. Ozarks 71 13-13 (9-7)
5. LeTourneau 52 6-19 (3-13)
6. Belhaven 38 8-17 (4-12)

West Division

No.  Team (First-place votes) Pts.  2018-19 Record (ASC)
1. Mary Hardin-Baylor (20) 139 27-4 (15-1)
2. Hardin-Simmons (3) 116 19-8 (11-5)
3. Howard Payne (1) 81 11-15 (8-8)
4. Concordia Texas 69 8-17 (4-12)
5. McMurry 64 8-18 (5-11)
6. Sul Ross State 39 5-20 (3-13)

ASC Women’s Basketball Preseason Watch List
East Division

Name Pos. Class School Hometown
Peyton Papenburg D G Sr. Belhaven Brandon, Miss.
Destiny Johnson C Jr. Belhaven Memphis, Tenn.
Kim Childress 1 F Sr. East Texas Baptist Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Kendrick Clark A N 1 D G Sr. East Texas Baptist Georgetown, Texas
Keauna Whitfield  H G Jr. LeTourneau Rosebud, Texas
Vanessa Cruz G Sr. LeTourneau Hercules, Calif.
Flora Akingbade F Jr. LeTourneau Grand Prairie, Texas
Morgan Blades F So. Louisiana College Livingston, La.
Kristen Breaux F Sr. Louisiana College Estherwood, La.
Alexis Lege F Jr. Louisiana College Erath, La.
Kerigan Bradshaw F G So. Ozarks Harrison, Ark.
Victoria Pena A Y 1 D G Sr. UT Dallas Helotes, Texas
Raenett Hughes A P 1 D G Jr. UT Dallas College Station, Texas
Katie Gunther H F Sr. UT Dallas The Woodlands, Texas

A 2018-19 All-American Southwest Conference
Y 2018-19 East Division Player of the Year
N 2018-19 East Division Newcomer of the Year
P 2018-19 East Division Defensive Player of the Year
1 2018-19 East Division First Team Selection
F 2018-19 East Division All-Freshman Team
D 2018-19 East Division All-Defensive Team
H 2018-19 East Division Honorable Mention

West Division

Name Pos. Class School Hometown
Kaycie Dunkerley S 1 G Sr. Concordia Texas Azle, Texas
Payton Berger H 2 F Sr. Concordia Texas Azle, Texas
Alyssa Marquez G Sr. Concordia Texas Mercedes, Texas
Taylor Gaffney 2 G Sr. Hardin-Simmons Frisco, Texas
Kaitlyn Ellis C Jr. Hardin-Simmons Breckenridge, Texas
Keilee Burke P 2 F D F So. Hardin-Simmons Belton, Texas
Chelsey Harris 1 D G Jr. Howard Payne Waco, Texas
Anastasia Willis H F Jr. Howard Payne San Antonio, Texas
Hannah Holt A Y 1 D G Sr. Mary Hardin-Baylor Lumberton, Texas
Kendall Rollins 1 G Sr. Mary Hardin-Baylor Fulshear, Texas
Alicia Blackwell A 1 D G Sr. Mary Hardin-Baylor McKinney, Texas
Skyler Reyna 2 F Sr. McMurry San Antonio, Texas
Sarah Doherty 2 G Sr. McMurry Lubbock, Texas
Savannah Johnson F F So. McMurry Azle, Texas
Chandre Nunez N 2 G/F Sr. Sul Ross State San Antonio, Texas
Jocelyne Roque S H F So. Sul Ross State El Paso, Texas

A 2018-19 All-American Southwest Conference
Y 2018-19 West Division Player of the Year
2018-19 West Division Newcomer of the Year
2018-19 West Division Defensive Player of the Year
2018-19 West Division Tri-Sportsmanship Athlete of the Year
1 2018-19 West Division First Team Selection
2 2018-19 West Division First Team Selection
F 2018-19 West Division All-Freshman Team
D 2018-19 West Division All-Defensive Team
H 2018-19 West Division Honorable Mention