For the first time in the 32 year history of the Seward County Community College womenís basketball program, the Lady Saints have been named the National Junior College Athletic Association Pre-Season No. 1 team in the nation. The NJCAA announced today that the Lady Saints were ranked the pre-season No. 1 team following their 36-2 overall record, third-place finish at the NJCAA National Tournament and No. 2 final NJCAA Top 25 ranking in 2006-2007. The NJCAA also announced its Pre-Season All-America team, and Seward County sophomore Tegan Cunningham was named a First Team Pre-Season All-American. Cunningham, a sophomore from Doncaster, VC, Australia, was named a First Team NJCAA & WBCA All-American last season.

The Seward County womenís basketball program finished the 1999-2000 and 2000-20001 seasons ranked No. 1 in the final NJCAA Top 25 regular season poll. This year marks the first time that Seward County has ever been ranked No. 1 in the pre-season poll.

Seward County returns the top player in the nation as Cunningham will try to lead the Lady Saints back to the National Tournament. She is the only 2006-2007 First Team NJCAA All-American returning to the junior college ranks this season.

Cunningham isnít the only major piece of the puzzle returning, sophomores Jennifer Noel and Audra Binford were also recognized by the NJCAA as two of the top returning players in the NJCAA Region VI.

Cunningham received 12 conference, regional and national awards last season. She was named Conference Most Valuable Player, Conference Freshman of the Year, Region VI Most Valuable Player and was a two-time NJCAA National Player of the Week, to name just a few.

Cunningham set the Seward County school record for all-time single-season rebounds (384) and averaged 18.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Cunningham led the nation in field goals (289), was second in points scored (687) and was fourth in the nation in total rebounds. She led the Lady Saints with 18 double/doubles, and she scored in double-figures in 36-of-38 games played.

Noel played in 33-of-38 games as a freshman, missing the opening five games of the season because she was still competing for the Lady Saints volleyball team at the regional tournament. Noel stepped in nicely to the Seward County line-up averaging 9.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

Binford, who only played in 18.8 minutes per game last season, was the teams leading three-point shooter connecting on 68 three-point field goals. She averaged 8.9 points per game and she was one of seven players on last seasonís team that scored at least 20 points in a single-game.

The Lady Saints will open their season on Nov. 2 hosting last seasonís NJCAA Pre-Season No. 1 team, Odessa College, for a 6 p.m. match-up at the Green House. Odessa finished last season as the NJCAA National Champions with an overall record of 32-2 overall.