Breaking down Southern Conference women’s basketball

June 28, 2014 

Breaking down Southern Conference women’s basketball

Scouting report

Like the A-Sun in recent years, the Southern Conference has been top heavy.

In this case, it’s Chattanooga lately, although Appalachian State and Davidson had short runs recently. Western Carolina had three straight 20-win seasons in the mid-2000s but has had two sub.-500 double-digit win seasons since 2008-09.

None of the remaining teams enter 2014-15 with two straight winning seasons.

Chattanooga now has one of the top coaches in the conference in any sport, Jim Foster. The resume? A .663 winning percentage at St. Joe’s, .721 at Vanderbilt and .772 at Ohio State, all leading to induction to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. He was fired at Ohio State after going 18-13, and went 29-4 -- the third such record at Chattanooga since 2007-08 -- in his first season.

Mercer hadn’t had consecutive winning seasons since the mid-1990s until going 20-12 and 17-14 the past two seasons and finishing behind Florida Gulf Coast and Stetson.

Samford left the A-Sun for a spell in the Ohio Valley Conference and had five straight seasons of winning 20 or more before hitting a drought the past few seasons. The Bulldogs have only two sub.-500 conference records in the past 10 years.

UNC Greensboro is the only team that doesn’t always play at the same facility as the men. But it has been no home-court advantage. The Spartans haven’t been above .500 in a while.

Chattanooga is the runaway attendance leader, averaging 2,176 last season. Second? Samford at 553. It was pretty similar in 2012-13, 2,550 for the Mocs and 499 for Furman. The return of East Tennessee State to the schedule will only help that mark.

Mercer is only about three hours away, giving Chattanooga fans another fairly short road trip.

The Bears enter the Southern Conference as they leave the A-Sun, as contenders, and with more experience than in years. And just as similar, there’s a quality program ahead of them.

Chattanooga

Stadium/capacity: The McKenzie Arena (10,928)

Conference championships: 18

Conference tournament championships: 16 (last in 214)

NCAA appearances: 12 (1-12, last in 2014)

NIT appearances: 5 (4-5, last in 2012)

Past 10 seasons:

Overall Conf.

29-4 18-0

29-4 19-1

22-10 16-4

17-14 13-7

24-9 16-4

22-10 17-3

29-4 18-0

25-8 15-3

27-4 18-0

25-5 19-1

Furman

Stadium/capacity: Timmons Arena/5,000

Conference championships: 4

Conference tournament championships: 2 (last in 2000)

NCAA appearances: 2 (0-2, last in 2000)

WNIT appearances: 1 (0-1, 2014)

Past 10 seasons:

Overall Conf.

18-13 12-6

12-18 8-12

15-16 10-10

14-16 10-10

7-24 4-16

12-18 6-14

10-20 5-13

11-20 5-13

10-20 5-13

18-10 13-7

Samford

Stadium/capacity: Pete Hanna Center/5,000

Conference championships: 0

Conference tournament championships: 2 (last in 2012)

NCAA appearances: 2 (0-2, last in 2012)

WNIT appearances: 1 (1-1, 2010)

Past 10 seasons:

Overall Conf.

10-20 8-10

15-16 11-9

20-13 12-8

25-8 15-5

23-11 14-6

22-7 16-4

23-9 15-5*

18-13 12-8*

21-8 15-5*

13-15 6-10*

* Played in Ohio Valley Conference

UNC Greensboro

Stadium/capacity: Fleming Gymnasium/1,833

Conference championships: 2

Conference tournament championships: 1 (last in 1998)

NCAA appearances: 1 (0-1, 1998)

WNIT appearances: 1 (0-1, 2002)

Past 10 seasons:

Overall Conf.

7-23 3-15

8-23 4-16

4-25 3-17

13-16 10-10

10-20 6-14

13-18 9-11

7-24 4-14

20-10 13-5

18-12 12-6

14-14 11-9

Western Carolina

Stadium/capacity: Ramsey Center/7,826

Conference championships: 1

Conference tournament championships: 2 (last in 2009)

NCAA appearances: 2 (0-2, last in 2009)

WNIT appearances: 2 (1-2, last in 2008)

Past 10 seasons:

Overall Conf.

15-17 7-11

7-23 5-15

14-17 8-12

9-22 6-14

7-23 6-14

21-12 14-6

25-9 15-3

24-10 15-3

9-20 8-10

18-13 10-10

Wofford

Stadium/capacity: Benjamin Johnson Arena/3,500

Conference championships: 0

Conference tournament championships: 0

NCAA appearances: 0

WNIT appearances:

Past 10 seasons:

Overall Conf.

6-23 4-14

8-21 3-17

13-18 5-15

8-22 3-17

9-21 6-14

5-24 3-17

10-21 2-16

13-16 7-11

7-21 3-15

4-24 2-18

-- Michael A. Lough

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