Three bulldogs featured on preseason All-SoCon team, Cournoyer earns preseason player of the year
Samford Women’s Basketball has been at the forefront of the Southern Conference ever since the arrival of head coach Carley Kuhns for the 2019-20 season.
In her first season as head coach in 2019, the Bulldogs went 10-4 in conference play on their way to a SoCon tournament title. The next year they went 11-2 and won the regular season conference title before losing in the SoCon tournament.
This year, they’ll look to finally put the pieces together of the triple crown: double digit SoCon wins, an outright regular season title and a tournament title all within the same season. This would be the first time in school history that all three of these happened in one season (although the team did complete it with a shared regular season title in 2019).
On the floor, the Bulldogs are led by junior guard Andrea Cournoyor. Cournoyor led the SoCon in points per game last year with 18.4 and was named the SoCon Player of The Year. This year, she was voted by the media to be the SoCon player of the year for the second straight season.
Two more Bulldogs were named to the preseason SoCon first team all-conference team: senior center Natalie Armstrong and junior forward Annie Ramil. Both averaged double figures in points last season while Ramil led the Bulldogs in rebounds per game (8.2), while Armstrong was second on the team (6.2).
The Bulldogs will likely lean on these three along with the return of senior guard Shauntai Battle. Battle’s 2020 season was cut short by an injury after only four games.
With these four returning and only losing two significant production contributors, the Bulldogs were voted to finish second by SoCon coaches and media. They trail only Mercer’s 45 points and five first place votes with 43 points and three first-place votes.
In other words, the 2021 season will be a must watch battle for glory. Coach Kuhns has started her dynasty in Birmingham, and another successful season is very well in-reach for her talented roster.
“We’ve raised the bar a little bit for what our expectation is for this program,” Kuhns said at the SoCon Basketball Media Day last week. “But still, we’re not talking SoCon tournament yet. We’ve got a lot of new players, a lot of new faces…. so really just trying to get better right now.”
The Bulldogs begin the season against No. 9 ranked Iowa on Nov. 11 on the road. This game will be a battle between great guards with Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and Samford’s Courneyor battling on the hardwood.
The Bulldogs return to Birmingham soon after to host Montvallo in the home opener on Nov. 14. Montvallo is the first of six non-conference home games for Samford this season. Samford will also travel to Colorado (Nov. 22), Ole Miss (Dec. 17) and LSU (Dec. 27) for three matchups against Power 5 schools. Samford also will host the Battle for Red Mountain this year when UAB visits the Pete Hanna Center on Dec. 12.
These six games, as well as the rest of the non-conference schedule, will be vital tests and opportunities for improvement before Samford hosts UT Chattanooga on Jan. 6 to open conference play.