The Davidson women’s basketball team is picked to finish in the same spot in its first season in the Atlantic 10 as the Wildcats’ men: 12th.
“(The league’s coaches) obviously don’t feel like they know us too well or what we’re capable of,” coach Michele Savage said from the league’s media day Tuesday in Richmond, Va. “But we’ll take the same approach as the men: we’ll have to prove ourselves in this league. The past is the past.”
The Wildcats women don’t enter the 14-team Atlantic 10 with the same strong credentials as the men. But Davidson played in the past two Southern Conference women’s tournament championship games and returns four starters from last season’s 16-16 team.
Savage’s chief task is replacing guard Laura Murray, who graduated as the Wildcats’ all-time leading scorer (1,880 points). The Wildcats should have one of the A-10’s stronger frontcourts, led by forwards Dakota Dukes (14.4 points, 7.7 rebounds) and Hannah Early (13.3 points, 63 3-pointers).
Three freshmen – guards Saadia Timpton (Myers Park High) and Diona Johnson and forward Mackenzie Latt – figure to contribute as well.
Dayton was the unanimous choice to win the A-10, which sent three teams to the NCAA tournament last season.
“The Atlantic 10 is a more physical league,” said Savage, who is 74-56 in four seasons at Davidson. “The players are stronger and more athletic than we’ve seen on a night-in, night-out basis in the Southern Conference, as opposed to just the championship game against Chattanooga.”
The Wildcats will open their season Nov. 14 at former Southern Conference foe Furman. Their Atlantic 10 opener is Jan. 4 against La Salle at Belk Arena.