Golden Eagles Picked 11th in BIG EAST

Junior Katherine Plouffe was an All-BIG EAST performer in 2011-12.

Oct. 18, 2012

BIG EAST Media Day Homepage

NEW YORK - The Marquette women's basketball team was picked to finish 11th in the BIG EAST Conference, a survey of the league's head coaches revealed Thursday morning.

The Golden Eagles were 14-17 overall and 4-12 in league play in 2011-12, advancing to the Second Round of the BIG EAST Championship. Junior Katherine Plouffe led the team in scoring and rebounding last year, earning All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention honors.

Connecticut, the 2012 BIG EAST Championship tournament winner, was picked to win the 2012-13 BIG EAST women’s basketball regular-season title. The selection was made by the league’s 15 head coaches, who were not permitted to select their own teams.

The Huskies, who received 12 first-place votes, edged last year’s regular-season champion, Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish received three first-place votes and were picked to finish second.

Louisville was selected to finish third, with St. John’s picked fourth and Rutgers rounding out the top five. DePaul was slotted sixth, while Syracuse and Georgetown were separated by only one point in seventh and eighth, respectively. The Hoyas were followed by USF, Villanova and Marquette in ninth, 10th and 11th. Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall and Providence followed the Golden Eagles, with the Panthers and Pirates tied for 13th.

Connecticut posted a 33-5 overall record last year, with three of its losses coming in conference play. The Huskies reached the NCAA Championship Final Four for the fifth-straight year, falling to Notre Dame. UConn will be led by unanimous Preseason All-BIG EAST selection Bria Hartley, preseason selection Stefanie Dolson and last year’s Freshman of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year, Kaleena Mosqueda Lewis.



Notre Dame, which was 35-4 last year, will be led by Skylar Diggins, who was chosen for the second-consecutive year as the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year. The Fighting Irish won their first outright regular-season title last season with a 15-1 record. Notre Dame was chosen as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament last year and advanced to the National Championship game for the second-straight year. The trip to the tournament was the Fighting Irish’s 17th consecutive.

Louisville was tied for sixth in the BIG EAST last year after posting a 10-6 conference mark and going 23-10 overall. The Cardinals made their sixth appearance in the NCAA Championship in the last seven years. Unanimous Preseason All-BIG EAST selection Shoni Schimmel returns to lead the Cardinals in her junior season. Schimmel was named an All-BIG EAST First Team selection and finished league play ranked 11th in scoring, sixth in assists, and fourth in steals.

St. John’s finished second in the conference last year behind a 13-3 league record and a 24-10 overall mark. The Red Storm are led by new head coach Joe Tartamella, who has been with the squad for nine years as an assistant. The Red Storm earned their third-straight trip to the NCAA tournament last year and earned the highest seeding in program history with a No. 3 seed.

After tying for sixth place with a 10-6 mark last year, Rutgers was chosen to improve one spot in 2012-13. RU had a 22-10 overall record last season. The Scarlet Knights earned their 10th-straight NCAA Championship bid last season and a No. 6 seed. Monique Oliver earned a spot on the preseason team after being an All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention selection last year.

DePaul, picked to finish sixth, returns six of the seven players from last year’s team, including Preseason All-BIG EAST unanimous selection Anna Martin. Martin led the league in scoring in 2011-12 at 19.1 ppg and finished the season with 648 points, which ranks 10th on DePaul’s all-time single-season list. The Blue Demons finished eighth last year after posting a 23-11 overall record and reaching the second round of the NCAA Championship.

Syracuse finished last season tied for 10th in the conference with a 6-10 league record and a 22-15 overall mark. SU reached the WNIT semifinals, its fifth-straight trip to the postseason and fourth consecutive in the WNIT. Preseason all-conference selection Kayla Alexander was named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team and the WNIT All-Tournament Team in 2012 after ranking 19th in the nation and first in the BIG EAST with 2.6 blocks per game.

Georgetown’s conference record of 11-5 (23-9 overall) tied for fourth in the league last season. GU’s season culminated with the program’s fourth NCAA bid overall and third in as many years. The Hoyas advanced to the second round as the No. 5 seed. This year, the Hoyas are under new leadership with assistant coach Keith Brown taking the reigns. The Hoyas were chosen to finish seventh, only one point behind Syracuse. GU will be led by unanimous Preseason All-Conference honoree Sugar Rodgers, who led the Hoyas in scoring with 18.7 ppg last year, which was second in the conference.

Under the guidance of head coach Jose Fernandez, USF advanced to the third round of the WNIT for the sixth time last year. The Bulls wrapped up 2012 just one win shy of a 20-win season with an overall record of 19-16. USF was ninth in the league with an 8-8 record and has been selected to finish ninth again this season.

After tying for 10th in the league last year, Villanova was selected to again finish in that spot. The Wildcats were 19-15 overall last season, reaching the third round of the WNIT. VU’s appearance in the WNIT was the team’s 10th postseason berth in the last 13 seasons. The trip also marked the Wildcats sixth trip to the WNIT in program history and the first since 2008. Villanova will be led by senior forward Laura Sweeney, a Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention.

Cincinnati finished tied for 10th last season and was picked to finish 12th this year. The Bearcats posted an overall record of 16-16, a seven-game improvement from the previous season and the most wins since 2005-06. Head coach Jamelle Elliott recorded her first career postseason victory and the Bearcats won their first postseason game in 10 years. The 2012 season marked the first time UC had advanced to the postseason since 2005-06.

Pittsburgh and Seton Hall each received 31 points in the preseason voting. The Panthers will be led by sophomore Brianna Kiesel, who earned a spot on the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team. The Pirates will be led by top returning scorer senior Brittany Morris, who averaged 11.0 ppg last year and led the team in 3-pointers.

After closing out the 2011-12 season with a 13-17 record and going 5-11 in league play, Providence was picked 15th in the preseason poll. The Friars will be led by Susan Robinson Fruchtl, who became the ninth head coach in the program’s history in April.

The 2013 BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Championship Presented by American Eagle Outfitters returns to the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. After a successful championship in 2012 that again was the national leader in attendance among all conferences, the five-day, 14-game event returns March 8-12, 2013. All 15 teams battle for the conference title and the winner will earn the league’s automatic bid to the 64-team NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.

2012-13 Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Connecticut (12) 194
2. Notre Dame (3) 182
3. Louisville 167
4. St. John’s 144
5. Rutgers 143
6. DePaul 138
7. Syracuse 105
8. Georgetown 104
9. USF 97
10. Villanova 78
11. Marquette 75
12. Cincinnati 61
T-13. Pittsburgh 31
T-13. Seton Hall 31
15. Providence 25

For the second-straight year, Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins was selected as the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year by league head coaches, while Connecticut freshman Breanna Stewart was chosen as the BIG EAST Preseason Freshman of the Year.

Diggins, the 2012 BIG EAST Player of the Year, was also a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team. Diggins helped lead her team to 15 league wins last season as the Irish won their first outright BIG EAST regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the 2012 BIG EAST Championship presented by American Eagle Outfitters. She averaged 17.8 points per game in conference play.

Stewart was also honored as the national player of the Year by Gatorade, USA Today, Parade Magazine, McDonald's (Morgan Wootten Player of the Year Award), the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and the Naismith Trophy following the 2011-12 season. She was named to the 2012 USA Basketball U18 National Team. Stewart was the youngest member of the 2011 USA Pan American Games Team, becoming just the second high school player to compete for Team USA in the Pan Am Games.

Three Connecticut players were chosen to the Preseason All-BIG EAST team: juniors Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley and sophomore Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.

Dolson was selected to the 2011-12 NCAA All-Kingston Regional Team last March and was a 2011-12 BIG EAST Honorable Mention selection after leading the Huskies in rebounding last season, pulling down six grabs per game. She also led the squad in blocks with 57. Dolson tallied 20 double-figure performances, including four 20-plus games.

Hartley, a unanimous Preseason All-BIG EAST selection, was named to the prestigious 2011-12 WBCA/State Farm All-America Team. She completed the 2011-12 season second on the team in assists with 3.7 per game, third in scoring with 14 points per game and third in steals with 70. Shooting 46.5 percent from the field, Hartley tallied 28 double-figure performances and five 20-plus scoring games on the season.

Tabbed as the 2011-12 BIG EAST Freshman and Sixth Man of the Year, Mosqueda-Lewis had a standout freshman campaign when she led the Huskies in scoring with 15 points per game. She was only the second UConn freshman to be honored as the BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player and was chosen to the 2011-12 All- BIG EAST Second Team and All-Freshman Team. She is third in UConn's single-season records with 93 3-point field goals and is second to Maya Moore for most points by a Husky freshman as she tallied a team-high 569 in 2011-12. Mosqueda-Lewis, a member of the 2011-12 BIG EAST All-Tournament Team, was named the BIG EAST Freshman of the Week eight times.

DePaul’s Anna Martin, an unanimous Preseason All-BIG EAST Team selection, was named an Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American and a regional finalist for the State/Farm WBCA All-American team. She was added to the Midseason Wade Watch List as well as the Naismith Midseason Player of the Year Watch List. She was an unanimous All-BIG EAST First Team selection after earning BIG EAST Conference Weekly Honor Roll Honors in eight of the league's 15 honor rolls. Martin led the BIG EAST in scoring with 19.1 points per game, which ranked 25th nationally.

Georgetown’s Sugar Rodgers was another unanimous selection. Rodgers was invited to the Team USA World University Games Trials and earned Honorable Mention All-America by State Farm Coaches Association and the Associated Press. Last year, she earned a spot on the Preseason "Wade Watch" List and was a Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team unanimous selection. She started in all 35 games and led Georgetown in scoring with 18.7 ppg, which also ranked her second in the conference. She also led Georgetown with 2.7 3-pointers per game and ranked second in assists with 2.4 apg and second in rebounding (4.9).

Louisville’s Shoni Schimmel also an unanimous All-BIG EAST Preseason selection. One of 25 players named to the preseason “Wade Watch” list, Schimmel earned first team WBCA Region I honors last season after leading the Cardinals with 14.3 points, 4.7 assists, and 2.4 steals per game. She also ranked third on the team in rebounding with 4.5 boards per game. Schimmel was named a first team All-BIG EAST selection and finished league play ranked 11th in scoring, sixth in assists, and fourth in steals.

Monique Oliver a senior forward/center from Rutgers, earned a spot on the preseason team after being an Honorable Mention All-BIG EAST selection last year. She saw action in all 32 games of 2011-12, making a team-best 31 starts. Oliver averaged career highs in scoring (11.8) and rebounding (7.3) last year and was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll a team-best three times.

Two senior guards from St. John’s were named to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team, Nadirah McKenith and Shenneika Smith.

McKenith was an All-BIG EAST Second Team selection last year and, for the third time, was named to the Nancy Lieberman Award Watch List. She ranks fifth all-time at St. John’s with 432 assists and sixth all-time in steals with 213. McKenith’s 12.1 points per game average was second on the team last year and she led the team in steals (70) and assists (149).

Smith was an All-BIG EAST First Team selection last year. She was also named to the BIG EAST All-Tournament Team. It is the third-straight season that Smith earns a spot on the BIG EAST Preseason all-conference squad. She ranks eighth all-time in blocks (90) and 13th in scoring with 1,236 career points. Last season, Smith led the Red Storm with 12.5 points per game, 6.4 rebounds and 40 blocks.

Kayla Alexander rounds out the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team. Alexander earns the honor after being named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team and Preseason All-BIG EAST Team last season. She was chosen for a spot on WNIT All-Tournament Team last year and earned a spot on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll three times. She started all 37 games and finished 19th in the nation and first in the BIG EAST with 2.6 blocked shots per game. Alexander was second on the team and 10th in the conference with 14.8 points per game and ninth in the conference with 7.5 rebounds per game.

Louisville’s Monique Reid and Laura Sweeney of Villanova were named Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention.

Preseason Player of the Year
Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame, Sr., G

Preseason Freshman of the Year
*Breanna Stewart, Connecticut, Fr., F

Preseason All-BIG EAST Team
Stefanie Dolson, Connecticut, Jr., C
*Bria Hartley, Connecticut, Jr., G
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Connecticut, So., F
*Anna Martin, DePaul, Sr., G
*Sugar Rodgers, Georgetown, Sr., G
*Shoni Schimmel, Louisville, Jr., G
*Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame, Sr., G
Monique Oliver, Rutgers, Sr., F/C
Nadirah McKenith, St. John’s, Sr., G
Shenneika Smith, St. John’s, Sr., G
Kayla Alexander, Syracuse, Sr., C

Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention
Monique Reid, Louisville, Sr., F
Laura Sweeney, Villanova, Sr., F


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