October 20, 2022 

Why Troy and Old Dominion look like dominant forces in the Sun Belt

A classic women's basketball program does battle with rising Trojans

The Sun Belt conference competition is set to begin in just over a month, on December 29. With the season fast approaching, many are wondering who the top contender for the upcoming season will be. According to a preseason vote conducted by the league’s 14 head coaches, the Troy Trojans are the primary contender to take the league’s title. Troy dominated the preseason vote, receiving 12 out of 14 first-place votes. Coming in second—and even earning a first-place vote—is Old Dominion, with a 24-10 record in the 2021-2022 season.

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Troy excelled at the defensive end in 2021-22, finishing 36th in the country in points per possession allowed in transition, per Synergy. Old Dominion was even better — 25th in transition, and 16th overall.

Sadly, the two teams are not scheduled to meet in the regular season. But the expectation is that the two will meet for the first time in the championship game of the conference tournament, adding potentially extra cache to that matchup.

Having taken the 1983 inaugural league championship, and going on to win three championships in consecutive years (1983, 1984, 1985), the Old Dominion Monarchs have deep roots in the Sun Belt.

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Troy women’s basketball team earned extra decoration when Troy’s senior forward, Felmas Koranga, was named 2022-2023 Sun Belt Women’s Conference Preseason Player of the Year, on Monday, October 17. Koranga, who is originally from Nakuru, Kenya, was selected to join the First-Team All-Sun Belt Conference in 2021-2022. During that season, she was the only Trojan to start all 33 games, and also set a new single-season rebound record for Troy in its Division I play, with 354 rebounds. 

On top of these two accolades, Koranga’s rebound record from the 2021-2022 season ranks third all-time. After finishing the season ranking 18th nationally, and securing a career-high 17 double-doubles, Koranga averaged a team-high 12.6 points, while grabbing 10.7 rebounds throughout the season. Koranga also topped 2% in steals and 3% in blocks last year.

Whether the Trojans will succeed in living up to the outcome of this preseason vote is yet to be determined, though under the guidance of head coach Chanda Rigby, the Trojans have made six postseason appearances. With five returning members from last year’s roster including Koranga, the Trojans are certain to be strong competition for the rest of the league.

Written by Emma Paidra

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