SOU women picked to place second in basketball
ASHLAND — The Southern Oregon women's basketball team has been picked to finish second in a Cascade Conference preseason coaches poll.
The Raiders received 91 points and four first-place votes.
Favorite College of Idaho received 93 points and also had four votes for first. Concordia was third with 81 points and two first-place votes.
Southern Oregon went 25-7 overall and 16-5 in conference on the way to third last season.
Returners Jacki Speer and Ashley Baker made the all-conference team.
Speer, a senior post, was a third-team All-American and has the top numbers of any returner in the conference. She averaged 16.6 points and 11.3 rebounds and recorded 22 double-doubles.
Speer ranked first in conference rebounding, fifth in scoring, seventh in field goal percentage and eighth in blocked shots.
Baker also nearly averaged a double-double for the Raiders. The senior forward went for 9.1 points and 8.4 rebounds.
College of Idaho's Nicole Gall was voted preseason player of the year. She averaged 14.5 points last year for the Coyotes.
Southern Oregon's Jarrad Childs and Ryan Staker are preseason all-conference picks and the Raiders are predicted to finish eighth in a Cascade Conference coaches poll.
College of Idaho is picked to win the conference, followed by Oregon Tech and Warner Pacific.
Southern Oregon went 9-21 overall and 7-13 in conference last year. The Raiders, who advanced to the postseason tournament, defeated three teams ranked in the top 10.
Childs, a 6-foot-1 senior guard, received honorable mention in all-conference voting last year. He averaged 13.5 points and ranked among the NAIA leaders in steals.
Staker, a 6-8 post, will give the Raiders a true threat on the inside. He saw limited minutes last year at UC Irvine and prior to that averaged 15.4 points and 12.7 rebounds at Central Arizona.
Southern Oregon plays its annual alumni game at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Southern Oregon sophomore outside hitter Sarah Holgen has been named the Cascade Conference's hitter of the week after leading three-set sweeps at Concordia and Warner Pacific.
Holgen had 11 kills and just two errors against Concordia, then had 10 kills, no errors and 14 digs against Warner Pacific.
The Raiders (18-2, 12-1 CC) host Oregon Tech Friday.