RICHMOND, Va. – With the 2011-12 season less than a month away, the preseason predictions are starting to roll in. Seniors Courtney Hurt and Andrea Barbour, as well as Head Coach Beth Cunningham all received recognition from College Sports Madness in its annual women's basketball preseason predictions.
Hurt and Barbour were each selected as part of the five-member All-Colonial Athletic Association First Team, while Cunningham was chosen as the league's preseason coach of the year. Hurt was also slotted as a First Team Mid-Major All-America selection and a Third Team National All-America honoree.
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. Hurt, who was a midseason Naismith Trophy candidate, 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.
The Conyers, Ga., native garnered first team All-CAA accolades to go along with first team All-State honors from both the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Virginia Sports Information Directors Association. She was also invited to attend the 2011 USA World University Games Women's Basketball Team Trials in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Barbour, meanwhile, provided a spark on both ends of the floor during her first season with the Rams in 2010-11. 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.
Cunningham, VCU's all-time winningest coach, enters her ninth season at the helm and has guided the Rams to a school record four-straight postseason appearances, including the program's first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament with an at-large selection in 2009. Meanwhile, the Rams have averaged 23 wins per season since 2007 with three-straight 20-win campaigns from 2007-10.
VCU opens the 2011-12 season against High Point on Friday, Nov. 11. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m., from the Verizon Wireless Arena.