Back at full strength after injury, Castle returns to point guard for Bears
PIKEVILLE - After finishing fourth in the Mid-South Conference standings last season, the University of Pikeville women's basketball team was picked to finish fifth in 2017-18, according to a vote of the league's coaches released on Tuesday.
Shawnee State (Ohio) is the preseason favorite as the co-MSC champs from a year ago collected 46 voting points and four of the eight available first-place votes. Campbellsville and Lindsey Wilson tied for second with 41 points each. Lindsey Wilson tallied three first-place votes and Campbellsville had just one.
Cumberland (Tenn.) is fourth with 29 points and UPIKE follows it up in fifth with 26.
Cumberlands, Georgetown and Life (Ga.) round out the list.
The Bears lost their top two scorers from a season ago in Kelah Eldridge and Devin Conley, but Brianna Burbridge and her 7.6 points per game are primed for a breakout sophomore season and post players like Elisabeth Latham and Mia Greatrex return as seasoned veterans after playing major minutes as freshmen.
Former NAIA All-American Aundrea Matchen, coming off of a knee injury, will come along slowly and her classmate Jamie Castle, who had a similar setback two years ago, is back at full speed and ready to command the point guard spot. Castle is a Magoffin County High School graduate.
Newcomer Zaria Hollier, a 5-10 freshman, is expected to play a significant role as well.
Mixing that bunch with a group of veteran returners has the team optimistic for a strong finish in 2017-18.
UPIKE is set to open its season on Oct. 31 at Marian in Indianapolis, Ind..
file photo courtesy of UPIKE
Magoffin County High School graduate Jamie Castle is set to lead the University of Pikeville women's basketball team from the point guard position during her senior season.