ORLANDO, Fla. -The Saint Leo women’s basketball team was selected ninth in the 2009-10 Sunshine State Conference Pre-Season Poll, it was announced Wednesday morning.  The University of Tampa, last year’s SSC co-champion, has been selected as the preseason favorite to win this season’s Sunshine State Conference Women’s Basketball Championship.

The Lions finished the 2008-09 season with an 11-16 record overall and their 2-14 record in league play handed them a ninth-place finish in the SSC.  Head coach Chanita Olds enters her fifth season at the helm and returns nine players while adding several new faces.  A total of six new players will don the Green & Gold this season, a number which also includes four true freshmen.

Saint Leo will open its 2009-10 season on the road with a Division I contest against Stetson University on November 17th.  Their home schedule begins with the Sleep Inn Classic when the Lions host Georgia SouthWestern State University and the University of Puerto Rico-Bayamon on Friday, November 20th (7:30 p.m.) and Saturday, November 21st (7:30 p.m.).  The Lions’ Sunshine State Conference schedule will begin before Christmas Break as they face Nova Southeastern on Saturday, December 5th at 2:00 p.m.

Reigning co-champions of the conference, Tampa received 121 points and 10 first-place votes in a preseason poll conducted among the league's women's basketball coaches and sports information directors.  Rollins, which shared the title with the Spartans a year ago, was not far behind, tallying 113 points.  The Tars received five first-place votes.

Nova Southeastern amassed 104 points to place third in the poll. The Sharks picked up the remaining three first-place nods. Florida Tech and Florida Southern were separated by the narrowest of margins. The Panthers totaled 74 points to rank fourth, while the Moccasins gathered 73 points to place fifth.

Eckerd's 55 points placed the Tritons in the sixth slot, while Lynn came in seventh with 44. Barry (40) and the Lions rounded out the ranks.

Rank - School, Points (1st place votes)
1 - Tampa, 121 (10)
2 - Rollins, 113 (5)
3 - Nova Southeastern, 104 (3)
4 - Florida Tech, 74
5 - Florida Southern, 73
6 - Eckerd, 55
7 - Lynn, 44
8 - Barry, 40
9 - Saint Leo, 24