Women’s spring preview: Southland Conference

For the past two years, conferences across the country have been shaken up as teams shuffle in and out. In the Southland Conference, an opportunity opened up when the top two teams in the league – Texas State (ranked No. 37 by Golfweek) and Texas San Antonio (No. 41) – left for the Western Athletic Conference.

Still, the Southland might have one of the most interesting new dynamics of any conference in the country. With two powerhouses gone, another moved in to potentially take its place this year. Oral Roberts joined the Southland after winning 14 consecutive Summit League Championships. That’s every championship since women’s golf was added to the league in 1998.

The scouting report on Oral Roberts is varied after the fall. The team didn’t win, but a runner-up finished at its own ORU Shootout and a third-place finish at the MSU/Payne Stewart Memorial signal good things. In four fall starts, Oral Roberts only saw five Southland teams. Lamar twice finished ahead of the Golden Eagles, but that’s the only conference team that Oral Roberts didn’t outscore.

Oral Roberts lost five seniors at the end of last season, but youth looked good on the Golden Eagles this fall. Three players on this year’s roster averaged just above the 77 mark, and within a few tenths of each other, to lead the team. One of those players, Alheli Moreno, was among Oral Roberts’ top 5 scorers last season.

The Golden Eagles need the Southland AQ to continue its streak of postseason appearances. That bid into NCAA Regionals has yet to translate to a spot in the NCAA Championship. It should be the next item on the Oral Roberts to-do list.

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Where it stands now

Top of the class: Central Arkansas

Best player in the fall: Julia Roth, Central Arkansas

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Past champions

2008: Texas State

2009: Texas A&M Corpus Christi

2010: Texas State

2011: Texas San Antonio

2012: Texas San Antonio

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Conference capsules

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