Women's Basketball Fifth in BIG EAST Preseason Poll
Oct. 16, 2013
NEW YORK - DePaul, which earned an at-large bid to the 2013 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship, is the top choice to win the 2013-14 league title based on the results of the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Blue Demons, who have seven letterwinners and three starters back from last year's NCAA squad, finished with 79 points in the poll and received eight of 10 first-place votes.
Head coach Doug Bruno led DePaul to an overall record of 21-12 and 9-7 in the conference last season. Back on the hardwood this season are junior guard Brittany Hrynko, the league's top returning scorer at 14.7 points per game and the BIG EAST Co-Most Improved Player last season, and senior forward Katherine Penny, who added 12.9 points and 4.9 rebounds an outing.
Creighton finished in second place in the poll with 67 points, including two first-place votes. The Bluejays are coming off a 25-8 season and a trip to the NCAA Championship. Head coach Jim Flanery welcomes back sophomore guard Marissa Janning (12.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg) and senior forward Sarah Nelson (11.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg) as Creighton embarks on its inaugural year in the BIG EAST.
St. John's claimed third place with 62 points. In his first season at the helm of the Red Storm, head coach Joe Tartamella led his squad to an overall record of 18-13 and a three-way tie for third place with an 11-5 mark in BIG EAST play. Three starters from last year's team are back for another season, including sophomore guard Aliyyah Handford, a member of the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team who netted 11.7 points per game in conference action.
In fourth place in the poll is Villanova, which tallied 56 points. The Wildcats finished last season at 21-12 overall and 9-7 in the BIG EAST. Head coach Harry Perretta lost his top two scorers from last season, but will be bolstered by the guard tandem of Caroline Coyer and Devon Kane. Coyer averaged 7.4 points per game, despite missing 11 games due to a broken hand, while Kane contributed 6.5 points and 2.4 assists an outing.
Marquette is right on the heels of Villanova, finishing in fifth place with 55 points. Several players return from head coach Terri Mitchell's WNIT squad, including senior forward Katherine Plouffe and junior guard Arlesia Morse. Plouffe was a member of the All-BIG EAST Second Team, averaging 12.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, and Morse registered 12.4 points and 3.8 rebounds a night for the Golden Eagles.
Georgetown was picked for sixth place. The Hoyas returns six players from last year's squad, including second-leading scorer Andrea White. White averaged 10.4 points and 6.5 rebounds per game during her junior campaign.
Newcomer Butler placed seventh in the poll. The Bulldogs are coming off a 17-14 season and a trip to the WNIT. Head coach Beth Couture will rely on the efforts of senior guard/forward Daress McClung, an Atlantic 10 Second Team selection who recorded 16.4 points and 9.0 rebounds an outing last season.
Finishing in eighth place in the poll is Providence. Second-year head coach Susan Robinson Fruchtl returns five letterwinners from last year's squad, including junior guard Tori Rule, the Friars' leading returning scorer. She netted 14.4 points per game and also contributed 3.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game.
Xavier was tabbed for ninth place. Head coach Amy Waugh, a former player and assistant coach for the Xavier program, introduces five letterwinners and seven newcomers for the Musketeers' first season in the BIG EAST. Senior guard Ashley Wanninger is the team's top returning scorer, averaging 9.3 points per game last season.
Seton Hall rounds out the poll in 10th place. Tony Bozzella takes over the reigns as head coach of the Pirates, who return three starters and 11 letterwinners overall. Second-leading scorer and assist leader Ka-Deidre Simmons is back for the Pirates (11.5 ppg, 3.9 apg), along with Alexis Brown, who led the team in rebounding a year ago with 5.7 boards a night.
2013-14 Preseason Coaches' Poll
First-place votes in parentheses
DePaul junior forward Brittany Hrynko, last season's BIG EAST Co-Most Improved Player, has been selected 2013-14 BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year by a vote of the league's head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own players. Georgetown freshman forward Shayla Cooper was chosen BIG EAST Preseason Rookie of the Year.
An All-BIG EAST First Team selection last year, Hrynko is the league's top returning scorer. She averaged 14.7 points per game as a sophomore and contributed 4.8 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals an outing for Blue Demons. Hrynko also connected on 31 percent of her shots from behind the 3-point arc.
Cooper, a 6-1 forward who played at Norcross High School in Norcross, Ga., was ranked 35th overall by ESPN's HoopGurlz.com and 12th at her position and 50th by Blue Star Basketball. She averaged 13.6 points and five boards for her high school team that went to the state semifinals, and helped her squad to a Class 5A State Championship in 2011-12. Cooper shot almost 60 percent from the field last year.
The 10-member 2013-14 Preseason All-BIG EAST Team includes five seniors, two juniors and three sophomores. The seniors are Daress McClung from Butler, Sarah Nelson from Creighton, Jasmine Penny from DePaul, Andrea White from Georgetown and Katherine Plouffe from Marquette. Tori Rule from Providence and Ka-Deidre Simmons from Seton Hall are the juniors, while sophomores Marissa Janning from Creighton, Aliyyah Handford from St. John's and Caroline Coyer from Villanova round out the team.
McClung, a 6-0 senior guard/forward from Indianapolis, Ind., was named to the 2012-13 All-Atlantic 10 Second Team after ranking in the top five in scoring (16.4 ppg - second), rebounds (9.0 rebounds - fifth), blocks (2.4 bpg - third) and steals (2.2 spg - fifth). She also netted 43 percent of her attempts from the field, 33 percent from three-point range and 75 percent from the foul line.
Janning, a 5-8 sophomore guard from Watertown, Minn., earned a spot on the Missouri Valley Conference All-Freshman Team and was the lone rookie on the MVC First Team. She was the highest scoring freshman in her conference last season, registering 12.6 points a night for the Bluejays. Janning also finished third in the conference in three-point field goal percentage (.389).
Nelson, a 6-0 senior forward from Omaha, Neb., was a member of the 2012-13 MVC All-Defensive Team. She recorded 47 blocked shots and 38 steals over 33 games for Creighton last season, and averaged 11.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Nelson connected on 50 percent of her field goal attempts and 35 percent of her three-point field goals.
Penny, a 6-1 senior forward from Logansport, Ind., averaged 2.8 points an outing for DePaul. She finished the year ranked 12th in the nation and second in the BIG EAST with her 53.8 field goal percentage. Penny reached the 20-point scoring mark in five contests.
White, a 6-0 senior forward from Lancaster, Va., is one of the BIG EAST's top returning rebounders after pulling down 6.5 boards a night for the Hoyas last year. Over 29 games, she averaged 10.4 points per game, shot 46.5 percent from the field and recorded 70 steals, 55 assists and 21 blocks.
Plouffe, a 6-3 senior forward from Edmonton, Alberta, was named to the 2012-13 All-BIG EAST Second Team and the All-Academic Team. She averaged 12.6 points per game as a junior, while reaching the 1,000-point milestone. Plouffe also added 7.8 boards a night and owned a .477 field goal percentage.
Rule, a 5-7 junior guard from Minneapolis, Minn., was 12th in scoring in the BIG EAST last season, netting 14.4 points per game for Providence. She reached double figures in scoring in 23 of 30 games, including 13 of 16 league contests. Rule also had five 20+ point games, including two 30+ point performances.
Handford, a 5-9 sophomore guard from Newark, N.J., was a member of the 2012-13 BIG EAST All-Freshman Team after registering 9.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game for St. John's during her rookie campaign. She also contributed 49 assists and 49 steals in 31 games played.
Simmons, a 5-8 redshirt junior guard from Newark, N.J., started all 31 games at the point guard spot for the Pirates and dished out 3.9 assists per game, 10th in the BIG EAST. Last season, she averaged 11.5 ppg in all games and 12.4 in conference play.
Coyer, a 5-10 sophomore guard from Oak Hill, Va., averaged 7.4 points and 3.1 boards in her first season with the Wildcats. A hand injury forced her to miss the last 11 games of the regular season, but she returned for the BIG EAST Championship and the Wildcats' appearance in the NCAAs.
2013-14 BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year
Brittany Hrynko, DePaul
2013-14 BIG EAST Preseason Rookie of the Year
Shayla Cooper, Georgetown
2013-14 BIG EAST Preseason All-BIG EAST Team
Daress McClung, Butler, G/F, Sr., 6-0, Indianapolis, Ind.
Marissa Janning, Creighton, G, So., 5-8, Watertown, Minn.
Sarah Nelson, Creighton, F, Sr., 6-0, Omaha, Neb.
Jasmine Penny, DePaul, F, Sr., 6-1, Logansport, Ind.
Andrea White, Georgetown, F, 6-0, Sr., Lancaster, Va.
Katherine Plouffe, Marquette, F, Sr., 6-3, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Tori Rule, Providence, Jr., G, 5-7, Minneapolis, Minn.
Aliyyah Handford, St. John's, G, So., 5-9, Newark, N.J.
Ka-Deidre Simmons, Seton Hall, G, R-Jr., 5-8, Newark, N.J.
Caroline Coyer, Villanova, G, So., 5-10, Oak Hill, Va.
2013-14 BIG EAST Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention
Arlesia Morse, Marquette, G, Jr., 5-10, Flint, Mich.
Ashley Wanninger, Xavier, G, Sr., 5-10, Cincinnati, Ohio
Eugenia McPherson, St. John's, G, R-Sr., 5-8, North Babylon, N.Y.