ROCK HILL, S.C. – Junior guard Tatum Burstrom (Maryville, Tenn.) and Sophomore forward Kaitlyn Cupples (Clinton, Tenn.) were named preseason second team All-South Atlantic Conference by the league's coaches Tuesday morning.
"They certainly deserve the award," head coach Mike Mincey said. "They have the accolades, but last year was last year and what Tatum has done her first two years is over with and she needs to improve and be consistent and show leadership. I know they want to continue to improve and get better and I know that they are capable of doing that."
After a strong freshman performance that earned her All-Freshman team honors, Burstrom was a member of the second team preseason All-SAC team one season ago. The Maryville, Tenn. native started 27 of 30 games a year ago, averaging 10.7 points per contest, a team-high.
The junior sharpshooter converted 33 percent of her three-point attempts a season ago, 11th in the SAC. Twice last season Burstrom made seven three-pointers in a game joining Kandi Duncan for the single game record. The guard begins the season third on the school's all-time three-point field goals made list having made 132 in her career.
Burstrom was also a playmaker for the Eagles finishing third on the team with 50 assists and fourth with 28 steals as she continues to round out her overall game.
"I definitely need to add working off the ball, beating people off the ball and pulling up," Burstrom said. "I have to find my open teammates because that is what it is all about in the end, team basketball."
Cupples rides a strong freshman campaign that saw her named the SAC Freshman of the Year, the first Eagle to be honored with that honor since Shanna DePew following the 2010-11 season.
"It was a big honor," Cupples said. "It's definitely not expected, but I was definitely honored. I think it just gives me more motivation to work towards my goals and hopefully show why I was picked."
The Clinton, Tenn. native led the conference with a 52.7 percent field goal percentage while ranking fourth in the league with 35 blocked shots.
Cupples scored in double figures in 16 of 30 games last season including a career-high 19 at Tusculum on January 22. She saved some of her best performances for the end by scoring 24 points with 21 rebounds in two SAC Women's Basketball Championship contests to earn a spot on the Food Lion SAC All-Tournament Team, the first player since Brooke Johnson in 2004-05 to haul in that accolade.
"We have a good group," Burstrom said of the team outlook. "Kaitlyn Cupples came in strong last year as a freshman and we just try to say in practice every day that we have a goal to meet, we're going to play hard and we try to keep it intense so that we carry it into the game."
This season marks the first time since the 2011-12 season that the Eagles placed two members on preseason All-SAC teams. Zoriah Williams was on the first team while DePew was on the second team. Only Williams, however, was on a postseason team being tabbed to the first team.
Women's Preseason All-Conference
Jazmine Charles, Lenoir-Rhyne
Haylee Lepaio, Newberry
Kristen McMillion, Tusculum
Jenni Gust, Lenoir-Rhyne
Chloe Bully, Catawba
Sierra Simpson, Anderson
Tanesha Stenson, Coker
Kaitlyn Cupples, Carson-Newman
Lesley Woods, Anderson
Chantal Dunbar, Wingate
Tatum Burstrom, Carson-Newman
Samantha Creed, Newberry
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