ARLINGTON, Va. – VCU Women's Basketball was picked to finish second in the Colonial Athletic Association in 2011-12, while seniors Courtney Hurt (right) and Andrea Barbour (below) were both named to the preseason All-CAA First Team, according to a vote of the league's head coaches. The awards were announced Tuesday at the conference's annual Media Day at Champps-Pentagon Row in Arlington, Va.
VCU is the only school in the league to have multiple first-team selections, joining preseason CAA Player of the Year Elena Delle Donne from Delaware, Hofstra's Shante Evans and Drexel's Kamile Nacickaite.
Delaware was picked to win the 2011-12 CAA title, while the Rams, James Madison and Hofstra round out the top four. Drexel and Old Dominion tied for fifth, followed by UNCW, George Mason, William & Mary, Georgia State, Towson and Northeastern.
A 2011 Honorable Mention Associated Press All-American, Hurt led the nation in rebounding (12.4 rpg) and double-doubles (25), while ranking second in the NCAA in scoring (23.2 ppg) last year. She set VCU's single-season marks in points (720), scoring average, rebounding (385), rebounding average, field goals (253), free throws (193) and double-doubles. The Conyers, Ga., native, who was a midseason Naismith Trophy candidate a year ago, also set the CAA's double-doubles record and is one of 17 players in NCAA history to post 25 or more in one season.
A first team All-CAA selection last year, Hurt was invited to attend the 2011 USA World University Games Women's Basketball Team Trials in Colorado Springs, Colo., in May. Earlier this month, she was named to the prestigious John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 30 list, which represents the nation's best women's basketball players.
Barbour, meanwhile, provided a spark on both ends of the floor during her first season with the Rams in 2010-11, earning second team All-CAA honors. A one-time McDonald's High School All-American Semifinalist and All-Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie selection at Virginia Tech in 2008, Barbour averaged 16.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.1 steals per game last year. She finished the season strong, contributing 19.3 ppg with seven 20-point performances during VCU's final 14 contests.
Head Coach Beth Cunningham welcomes back four senior starters from last year's 19-12 squad that made its school record fourth-straight postseason appearance. The Rams will look for their seventh straight season-opening victory when they kick off the 2011-12 campaign against High Point on Nov. 11. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m., from the Verizon Wireless Arena.
2011-12 CAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
3. James Madison
7. UNC Wilmington
8. George Mason
9. William & Mary
10. Georgia State
2011-12 CAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS
Andrea Barbour, VCU#, RSr., G, 5-10
Elena Delle Donne, Delaware*, Jr., G/F, 6-5
Shante Evans, Hofstra*, Jr., F, 6-0
Courtney Hurt, VCU*, Sr., F, 6-1
Kamile Nacickaite, Drexel#, Sr., F, 5-11
Alisha Andrews, UNCW, So., G, 5-2
Chan Harris, Georgia State^, RSr., F, 6-2
Tarik Hislop, James Madison, Jr., G, 5-7
Tia Lewis, Old Dominion^, Sr., C/F, 6-3
Taysha Pye, William & Mary^, Sr., G, 5-8
CAA Preseason Player of the Year: Elena Delle Donne, Delaware
Honorable Mention: Nicole Capurso, Hofstra; Lauren Carra, Delaware; Jasmine Gill, James Madison; Talia Moton, George Mason
*1st team All-CAA in 2010-11
# 2nd team All-CAA in 2010-11
^ 3rd team All-CAA in 2010-11