The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women's basketball team has been picked to finish fifth in the Western Division of the Southland Conference in both the coaches and sports information directors poll. Islander center Elisa Beagle has also been chosen as a pre-season first-team All-SLC pick.

Leading the Islanders will be first-team All-SLC selection Elisa Beagle. Beagle is a senior center for the Islanders who averaged 10.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game last season and has steadily climbed the all-time Islander statistical charts. Beagle comes into the season as the second-leading rebounder in Islander history with 642 and is seventh all-time in points scored with 806.

"This is a great honor for Elisa." said head coach Robert Robinson. "She is very deserving. She is a dominate post player who will use this as a motivating factor to be the best she can as she enters her final year."

Including Beagle at the center position, the Islanders return four starters from last years team that finished with a 12-20 overall record and a 7-9 record in SLC games while making it to the SLC Tournament semifinals. Despite the four returning starters, both the coaches and sports information directors picked the Islanders to finish in fifth place in the Western Division.

Robinson is taking it all in stride.

"Nobody has seen us play so they have to go off where we finished last season." said Robinson. "It seems like every year a team that did well the season before falters and a team that struggled does really well so you can't put too much emphasis on the pre-season polls."

UTSA, Texas State, Lamar and UT Arlington are picked ahead of TAMUCC while Sam Houston was picked to finish last in the Western Division.

"To be considered the best, we are going to have to beat the teams ahead of us anyway." said Robinson. "We play UTSA, Texas State, Lamar and the other teams picked to finish in front of us, so we will have the opportunity to prove ourselves on the court."

The Western Divison features five of the top eight SLC Tournament participants from last season, including the top three seeds from a year ago.

"We feel like although we were picked fifth in the west, we are still one of the top six teams in the conference." said coach Robinson. "The divison is so strong from top to bottom that we feel we will be right there come tournament time."

While UTSA was picked to finish atop the Western Division by both the coaches and sports information directors, the SFA Lady Jacks were picked as the favorite by both in the Eastern Division.

2008-09 Southland Conference

Women's Basketball Preseason Teams

First Team

Monica Gibbs*, UTSA 5'8 Sr. G Stillwater, Okla./Stillwater HS

Onika Anderson*, UTSA 5'10 Sr. F Pine Bluff, Ark./Carl Albert JC

Elisa Beagle*, AMCC 6'0 Sr. C Houston, Texas/Hightower HS

Brittney Williams*, LU 5'10 Jr. F Spring, Texas/Spring HS

Nikki Williams*, LU 5'5 Sr. G White Castle, La./Copiah-Lincoln CC

*automatic selection

Second Team

Candice Champion, UTA 6'1 Sr. F Waco, Texas/University HS

Kristy Carlin, SLU 6'0 Sr. F Walker, La./Walker HS

Ashley Cole, TXST 5'9 Jr. G Port Arthur, Texas/Cowley College

Shante' Perry, MCN 5'9 Jr. F Cleveland, Texas/Cleveland HS

Whitney York, UTSA 5'5 So. G Bryan, Texas/Bryan HS

Coaches Poll SID Poll

East Division East Division

Stephen F. Austin – 66 (11) Stephen F. Austin – 63 (9)

McNeese State – 49 (1) McNeese State – 47 (2)

Northwestern State – 44 Southeastern Louisiana – 43

Southeastern Louisiana – 42 Northwestern State – 42

Central Arkansas – 31 Central Arkansas – 35 (1)

Nicholls State – 16 Nicholls State – 16

West Division West Division

UTSA – 62 (7) UTSA – 65 (10)

Texas State – 49 (3) Texas State – 47 (2)

Lamar – 48 (1) Lamar – 47

UT Arlington – 40 (1) UT Arlington – 44

A&M-Corpus Christi – 28 A&M-Corpus Christi – 26

Sam Houston State – 16 Sam Houston State – 17

(first-place votes)