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NORFOLK, Va., Oct. 25, 2017 – Delaware State junior forward NaJai Pollard has been selected as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Women's Basketball Preseason Player of the Year. Hampton was selected as the preseason favorite to win the MEAC title this coming season.

All awards are voted on by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors.meac logo15

Pollard led the MEAC in both scoring and rebounding in 2016-17, averaging 18.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per contest. Her .571 field goal percentage was also the best in the conference, and she also tied for fifth in blocked shots (2.0 per game. She was seventh in the nation with 12 double-doubles last season, and Pollard also ranked among the top 25 nationally in offensive rebounding (4.0 per game) and made free throws (150).

Hampton picked up 13 first-place votes in being named the preseason favorite. The Lady Pirates won 20 games and their sixth MEAC Tournament title in eight seasons last year. Defending regular-season champion Bethune-Cookman was picked to finish second, receiving seven first-place votes, while North Carolina A&T State picked up five first-place votes and was picked to finish third.

Rounding out the rest of the preseason poll are Norfolk State, Howard, Florida A&M, Maryland Eastern Shore (one first-place vote), Morgan State, Coppin State, Savannah State, Delaware State, South Carolina State and North Carolina Central.

Joining Pollard on the Preseason All-MEAC First Team are Bethune-Cookman's Ashanti Hunt, Coppin State's Genesis Lucas, Hampton's Monnazjea Finney-Smith and Norfolk State's Kayla Roberts.

The 2017-18 season begins on Friday, Nov. 10, with eight teams in action.

The 2018 MEAC Basketball Tournament will be held March 5-10 at the Norfolk Scope Arena in Norfolk, Va.

2017-18 Predicted Order of Finish
As voted on by the league's head coaches and sports information directors;
first-place votes are in parentheses

School Points
1. Hampton (13) 320
2. Bethune-Cookman (7) 292
3. North Carolina A&T State (5) 271
4. Norfolk State 232
5. Howard 223
6. Florida A&M 185
7. Maryland Eastern Shore (1) 184
8. Morgan State 166
9. Coppin State 155
10. Savannah State 97
11. Delaware State 93
12. South Carolina State 78
13. North Carolina Central 70

2017-18 Preseason All-MEAC Teams
As voted on by the league's head coaches and sports information directors

Preseason Player of the Year: NaJai Pollard, Delaware State

FIRST TEAM

Name Pos. Ht. Class School Hometown
NaJai Pollard F 5-11 Jr. Delaware State Richmond, Va.
Genesis Lucas G 5-7 r-Sr. Coppin State Brandywine, Md.
Kayla Roberts G/F 6-1 Sr. Norfolk State Miami, Fla.
Ashanti Hunt G 5-11 Jr. Bethune-Cookman Washington, D.C.
Monnazjea Finney-Smith G/F 6-1 Sr. Hampton Portsmouth, Va.

SECOND TEAM

Name Pos. Ht. Class School Hometown
Breanna Farrar G 5-6 Sr. Morgan State St. Louis, Mo.
Bryaesha Blair G 5-4 Gr. South Carolina State Chicago, Ill.
Jephany Brown G/F 6-0 Sr. Hampton Washington, D.C.
Alexus Lessears C 6-3 So. North Carolina A&T State Cleveland, Ohio
Shakerrya Morrison G/F 6-0 Sr. Florida A&M Zebulon, N.C.

THIRD TEAM

Name Pos. Ht. Class School Hometown
Jordan Strode G 5-8 r-Sr. Norfolk State Charlotte, N.C.
K'lynn Willis G 5-3 Jr. Hampton Detroit, Mich.
Keyera Eaton G 5-8 Jr. Maryland Eastern Shore Winston-Salem, N.C.
Chance Graham C 5-11 So. Coppin State Upper Marlboro, Md.
Tykyrah Williams F 5-10 Sr. Morgan State Durham, N.C.
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