By Jonathan Caudle, TTU Sports Information
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The 2019-20 Ohio Valley Conference basketball season officially kicked off on Tuesday as the league office hosted its annual Media Day at the DoubleTree by Hilton and Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana.
Coach Rosamond and junior guard Jordan Brock were in attendance on Tuesday, as the OVC hosted its Media Day for the third-straight year in Evansville, which also serves as the site for the OVC tournament each March.
The Golden Eagles are riding on the heels of a 22-11 season that saw the Golden Eagles produce the third-largest turnaround in NCAA Division I and earn their first post-OVC tournament appearance since the 2011-12 season.
The Golden Eagles were also picked to finish third in the OVC Preseason Coaches Poll, which is voted on by the league's coaches and sports information directors. Tech secured 203 points and the final first-place vote in the poll.
Schools were not allowed to rank their own team. 11 points were awarded for a first-place vote, 10 for a second-place vote, and so on.
Reigning OVC regular season and tournament champion Belmont was picked atop the poll with 234 points and 14 first-place votes. The Skyhawks of UT Martin was also selected to finish ahead of Tech in second place with 227 points and nine first-place votes.
Austin Peay follows Tech in fourth with 151 points. Jacksonville State sits in fifth with 147 points, followed by Southeast Missouri with 139 points. Morehead State slotted in seventh with 117 points, while Murray State claimed eighth with 108 and SIUE was selected ninth and earned 99 points.
The final three spots were picked as Eastern Illinois, Tennessee State, and Eastern Kentucky in 10th, 11th, and 12th, earning 76, 53, and 30 points, respectively.
"It is always good to know that we are earning respect within our league, and our peers recognize our program is moving in a positive direction. However, we also understand this ranking is based on potential rather than guaranteed success, and it is vital we use this as nothing more than motivation to reach our potential this season. Our league will be as competitive as it has been from top to bottom in a long time, and we will have to be at the top of our game each night in the OVC to have an opportunity to be in the championship hunt."
Jordan Brock, a long-range specialist from Harlan, Ky., was named Preseason All-OVC, following a prolific 2018-19 campaign in which Brock was named to the All-OVC First Team.
She led the Golden Eagles in scoring (11.5 ppg), field goals made (117), 79 of which came from beyond the arc, and free throw percentage (86.8 percent).
"Jordan is not only one of the best shooters in the OVC but also one of the best players. There were only two sophomores recognized on the All-OVC first team last season, and it is a tremendous accomplishment for Jordan to be recognized by the league last season," expressed Rosamond. "She has worked really hard in the offseason to elevate her game, and I am excited to watch her grow and mature as a seasoned junior. Jordan has an edge that you need at this level, and she has been an integral part of the turnaround that our program has seen over the past few years."
Joining Brock on the Preseason All-OVC team is Preseason All-OVC Player of the Year Ellie Harmeyer (Belmont), as well as Arielle Gonzalez-Varner (Austin Peay), Maura Muensterman (Belmont), Karle Pace (Eastern Illinois), Chelsey Perry (UT Martin), Tesia Thompson (Southeast Missouri), Macey Turley (Murray State), Maddie Waldrop (UT Martin), and Maddie Wright (Belmont).
In addition to Brock, Tech returns numerous impact players from their 2018-19 campaign in seniors Akia Harris and Anacia Wilkinson, juniors Kesha Brady, Mackenzie Coleman, Abby Buckner, and Megan Clark as well as underclassmen Taylor Lamb and Hannah Garrett.
The Golden Eagles also added a plethora of young talent this past year, which includes freshmen Jada Guinn, DJ MacFarlane, Mackenzie Keelin, Maaliya Owens, as well as a pair of key sophomore transfers in Grace Pelphrey and Windee Johnson.
Following Tuesday's Media Day, the Golden Eagles now set their sights on the upcoming campaign.
"Like all teams at this time of the year, we are excited about the exciting possibilities a new season holds," expressed Rosamond. "This will be the first year that our roster consists of a large number of upperclassmen, and we need to use that experience as an advantage on the floor. It starts each day in practice. If we want to play like a veteran team, we must practice daily like a veteran team."
Tennessee Tech will see its first action of the 2019-20 season on Tuesday, October 29 as the Golden Eagles host an exhibition matchup against University of Cumberlands (Ky.), before opening the season on Tuesday, November 5 against Cumberland University (Tenn.). Both contests are slated to tip-off at 6 p.m. in the Hooper Eblen Center.
Season tickets for Tennessee Tech basketball are on sale now. Call (931) 372-3940, visit the Hooper Eblen Center ticket office, or log on to TTUSports.com to order yours today.
OVC Women's Basketball Predicted Order of Finish
1. Belmont (14 first-place votes) - 234 points
2. UT Martin (nine first-place votes) - 227 points
3. Tennessee Tech (one first-place vote) - 203 points
4. Austin Peay - 151 points
5. Jacksonville State - 147 points
6. Southeast Missouri - 139 points
7. Morehead State - 117 points
8. Murray State - 108 points
9. SIUE - 99 points
10. Eastern Illinois - 76 points
11. Tennessee State - 53 points
12. Eastern Kentucky - 30 points
Preseason All-OVC Team
Jordan Brock, Tennessee Tech*
Arielle Gonzalez-Varner, Austin Peay
Ellie Harmeyer, Belmont*
Maura Muensterman, Belmont
Karle Pace, Eastern Illinois
Chelsey Perry, UT Martin#
Tesia Thompson, Southeast Missouri*
Macey Turley, Murray State#%
Maddie Waldrop, UT Martin
Maddie Wright, Belmont
* - 1st team All-OVC in 2018-19; # - 2nd team All-OVC in 2018-19; % - OVC All-Newcomer team in 2018-19
Photos by Thomas Corhern