CUA opens season this weekend, picked to repeat as conference champs

WASHINGTON – The defending Landmark Conference champion CUA women's basketball team is set to begin the 2012-13 season this weekend.  The Cardinals, coming off a year in which they won a school-record 22 games and advanced to their first NCAA Tournament, will head to Ashland, Va. to play two games in two days at the Randolph-Macon Tip-Off Classic.

CUA returns nearly its entire team from last year, led by All-Conference performers Jill Woerner, Katarina Owunna and Emily Grabiak.  Woerner, who scored her 1,000th career point last season, led the Cards in scoring at 13.1 points per game, with Owunna (10.5) and Grabiak (8.4) next in line.

Other key returners for CUA include Kelli Josephsen (7.7 ppg), Jenny McGann (2.1 steals/game), Liz Briones (3.4 rebounds/game), Rachel Ferri (70% FTs) and Karlyn Dixon (10.8 minutes/game).

The Cardinals' defense led the way in 2011-12, ranking 12th in America in field goal percentage defense (31.4), 28th in scoring defense (51.6) and 16th in rebound margin (+8.6).  CUA led the Landmark Conference in all three categories.

CUA's first opponent this season, the host Yellow Jackets of Randolph-Macon, went 14-12 a season ago, including a 12-8 mark within the ODAC.   RMC was tabbed fifth in this year's preseason conference poll and returns one starter and seven letterwinners for 2012-13.

Sarah Parsons, a Third Team All-Conference selection a season ago, averaged 14.6 points per game and shot 44% from the field last year, while Christina Phelps also returns, after averaging 4.2 points and 2.7 rebounds for the Yellow Jackets.

Friday's game gets underway at 6 p.m. and Randolph-Macon will offer live video, audio and stats of the contest.

On Saturday, CUA faces Virginia Wesleyan at 2 p.m.  The Marlins went 22-6 a season ago and 17-3 in the ODAC, reaching the conference championship game before falling to Guilford.

Returning to lead the way for VWC is Sarah Seipp, who was named First Team All-ODAC and the conference's Rookie of the Year last season after averaging 14.6 points per game.  Joining Seipp is Rachael Miller, who averaged 5.7 points and 2.0 assists per game.

CUA also learned on Wednesday that it was picked to repeat as conference champions in the Landmark Conference preseason poll.  The Cardinals received 67 points and six first place votes in the poll, followed by Scranton with 50 points and Juniata with 43.

Moravian was picked fourth in the poll with 43 points, while Merchant Marine Academy (21), Susquehanna (17), Drew (16) and Goucher (10) round things out.

CUA opens its conference schedule on Saturday, December 1 when the Cardinals travel to Madison, N.J., to face Drew.  Start time is set for 1 p.m.

2012-13 Landmark Conference Women's Basketball Preseason Poll
School, Points (first place votes)
1. Catholic, 67 (6)
2. Scranton, 50 (1)
3. Juniata, 43 (1)
4. Moravian, 32
5. Merchant Marine Academy, 21
6. Susquehanna, 17
7. Drew, 16
8. Goucher, 10

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