TCU Women's Basketball Ranked 20th in ESPN/USA Today Poll
Nov. 5, 2002
FORT WORTH, Texas -- After earning preseason mention from several basketball publications, the TCU women's basketball team was included in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll announced on Tuesday. It is the first-ever officially-recognized preseason ranking in Lady Frog history.
This year, TCU will be led by sophomore Sandora Irvin, a preseason All-Conference USA selection. The 6-4 post averaged 10.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game as a freshman, and set school single-season records for rebounds and blocked shots. Two other starters from last year's squad, junior guard Ebony Shaw (8.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg) and junior forward Tiffany Evans (8.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg), are also back for TCU.
In addition, senior guard Tricia Payne, the team's 2000-01 Most Valuable Player (11.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg), returns for her final campaign after sitting out the entire 2001-02 season due to a torn ACL. Other key returners for TCU are senior guard Candace Baldwin (5.8 ppg, 2.5 apg), sophomore guard Ashley Browning (3.6 ppg, 1.3 rpg), senior forward Grace Gantt (8.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg) and sophomore forward Niki Newton (5.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg).
The Lady Frogs also boast several highly-touted newcomers, including: junior guard Kim Ortega, who was the 2002 National Junior College Player of the Year; junior forward Amy Pack, who was a two-time all-Western Athletic Conference selection at UTEP; and junior forward Tracy Wynn, who helped Seward County Community College to the 2002 NJCAA National Championship.
"It's an honor to be rated that high to start the season," said head coach Jeff Mittie. "But we know that it isn't where you start the season, it's where you end it. Being ranked in the top 25 at the end of the season is one of our team goals."
With 100 votes, the Lady Frogs are rated 26th in the preseason Associated Press poll which was announced on Monday. TCU fell just six votes shy of 25th-rated UC-Santa Barbara (106).
The Lady Frogs open the exhibition season on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 2:00 p.m. at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum and begin the regular season against Utah on Friday, Nov. 22 at 5:15 p.m. as part of a TCU doubleheader.