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Rebels picked to finish 7th by coaches

BIRMINGHAM —Coming off an outstanding 2014-15 season in which the Rebels returned to the postseason, Ole Miss was picked to finish seventh in the SEC by the leagues coaches. It is the first time the Rebels have been picked in the top half of the media poll since the league expanded.

South Carolina was predicted to win the 2016 Southeastern Conference women’s basketball championship in a vote of the league’s coaches. This is the second consecutive season the coaches have positioned the Gamecocks at the top of the league.

Last season, South Carolina won a school-record 34 games and advanced to the NCAA Final Four for the first time. The Gamecocks also won their first SEC Tournament title in their first appearance in the championship game. South Carolina returns its top three scorers and top two rebounders from last season’s squad.

South Carolina tops the order of finish with 168 points, with Tennessee (158), Texas A&M (138), Mississippi State (134), Kentucky (125), Missouri (94), and Ole Miss (81) rounding out the top half the league. Arkansas (77), Georgia (75), LSU (64), Vanderbilt (61), Florida (54), Auburn (29), and Alabama (16) frame the bottom half.

South Carolina’s Tiffany Mitchell was voted as SEC Women’s Basketball Preseason Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. Mitchell’s teammate A’ja Wilson and Tennessee’s Diamond DeShields also received votes.

Joining Mitchell, Wilson, and DeShields on the All-SEC Preseason First Team are Makayla Epps, Kentucky; Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State; Alaina Coates, South Carolina; Bashaara Graves, Tennessee; Courtney Walker, Texas A&M and Courtney Williams, Texas A&M.