Women Picked Seventh, Morse Tabbed All-League

Arlesia Morse shoots over fellow All-BIG EAST selection, Villanova guard Caroline Coyer.
Oct. 22, 2014

BIG EAST Women's Media Day Central

The Marquette University women's basketball team was pegged to finish seventh in the 2014-15 BIG EAST Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll and senior Arlesia Morse was selected as a preseason all-conference performer.

Coming off a trip to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16, DePaul was unanimously selected to repeat as BIG EAST champions based on the 2014-15 BIG EAST Preseason Coaches' Poll. The reigning tournament and regular-season league champs, who return four starters from that squad, collected all nine available first-place votes for a total of 81 points.

Head coach Doug Bruno led the Blue Demons to their third trip to the Sweet 16 and finished the season ranked No. 16 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll and No. 23 in the final Associated Press poll. DePaul set program standards for points, field goals, three-pointers and assists while tying the team standard for wins with a 29-7 record, including 15-3 in BIG EAST play.

DePaul loses just one significant contributor from last season's squad and welcomes back 11 letterwinners, including All-America Honorable Mention senior guard Brittany Hrynko, a BIG EAST Player of the Year contender, and Megan Rogowski, the conference's most accurate three-point shooter. Bruno, who served another stint as a Team USA assistant coach at the FIBA World Championships this past fall, welcomes a talented group of newcomers headlined by McDonald's All-American forward Mart'e Grays.

St. John's, which finished runner-up in the BIG EAST a season ago, advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after earning an at-large bid. The Red Storm earned 73 points in the preseason coaches' poll and the remaining first-place vote to come in second. Head coach Joe Tartamella will aim for a sixth consecutive trip the NCAAs this year when he welcomes back a pair of starters from the team that went 23-11 last year, including 13-5 in conference play. Junior guard Aliyyah Handford highlights the group of seven returning letterwinners after claiming All-America Honorable Mention accolades in '13-14.



Villanova claimed third place in the coaches' poll with 60 points. The Wildcats secured their second consecutive 20-win season with a 23-9 mark along with a third-place finish in BIG EAST play with a 12-6 record in '13-14. VU earned a WNIT berth and claimed a pair of in-season tournaments with the help of BIG EAST Sixth Man of the Year Caroline Coyer, who returns to the lineup this season. Head coach Harry Perretta's methodical offense led the nation in fewest turnovers per game (8.8) as well as assist-turnover ratio (1.89) a season ago.

In its second season of BIG EAST play, Creighton was picked to finish fourth with 55 points. Head coach Jim Flanery welcomes back reigning BIG EAST Player of the Year Marissa Janning, whose conference-best 17.6 points per game led CU to a 20-14 record, including 12-6 in league play. The Bluejays, who finished in a tie for third place last season in the conference standings, earned a WNIT invite and return three starters, including Janning, from that squad.

Seton Hall is nipping at Creighton's heals with 51 points for fifth place. In head coach Tony Bozzella's first season at the helm, the Pirates reached the 20-win mark for the first time since 1995, going 20-14 to include a deep run into the WNIT. SHU finished seventh in the BIG EAST with an 8-10 mark, advancing in the conference tournament for the second consecutive season. The Pirates welcome back four starters from last season, including the league's No. 3 and 4 scorers in Tabatha Richardson-Smith and Ka-Deidre Simmons.

Returning their top six scorers from 2013-14, Providence earned 36 points in the coaches' poll for the No. 6 spot. After winning four of their first five games, the Friars dropped 22 of 25 to finish 7-23 overall and 2-16 in BIG EAST play for the No. 10 spot. Third-year head coach Susan Robinson Fruchtl will have one of the most experienced lineups when PC takes the court in 2014-15, including All-BIG EAST performers Alexis Harris (second team) and Sarah Beal (all-freshman).

The Friars narrowly edged out Marquette, which totaled 34 points for seventh place. MU went 22-11 last season, including 11-7 in BIG EAST play to secure fifth place with its second-highest league win total since joining the conference in 2005-06. Earning a WNIT invite, the Golden Eagles made their 12th national postseason appearance in the last 13 seasons. Former Marquette standout Carolyn Kieger took over the head coaching reins at her alma mater during the offseason and welcomes back 1,000-point scorer Arlesia Morse as MU will need to replace three starters.

Georgetown tallied 26 points for the No. 8 spot in head coach Natasha Adair's first season on the Hilltop. The Hoyas went 11-21 overall last season, which included three consecutive two-point overtime setbacks, and 4-14 in BIG EAST play to finish eighth. GU advanced to the BIG EAST Tournament Quarterfinals where it met future champion DePaul. The Hoyas return two starters and eight letterwinners, including all-league honoree Faith Woodard, and boast the BIG EAST Preseason Freshman of the Year Dorothy Adomako, the 2014 Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year.

The Hoyas narrowly edged out Xavier, which totaled 24 points for ninth place. In their first season of BIG EAST play the Musketeers went 8-23, including 3-15 against conference foes for a ninth-place finish. Head coach Brian Neal took over shortly before the start of the 2013-14 season and earned some notable wins early on, but injuries hampered the squad which ended the year on a 13-game losing skid. XU returns three healthy starters, including Jenna Crittendon, and welcome back eight letterwinners while adding a pair of transfers with instant-impact potential.

First-year head coach Kurt Godlevske will guide Butler, which registered 10 points to round out the poll in 10th place. The Bulldogs went 10-8 to finish sixth in the league standings and earned a postseason bid to the WNIT before finishing the season 15-16 overall, but will have to replace all five starters from that squad. Rising senior Ijeoma Uchendu is the Bulldogs' top returning scorer and rebounder, while Loryn Goodwin will get her first shot at BIG EAST play after sitting out the 2013-14 campaign after transferring from North Texas, where she was tabbed Sun Belt Freshman of the Year.

2014-15 BIG EAST Women's Basketball Preseason Poll
1. DePaul - 81 (9)
2. St. John's - 73 (1)
3. Villanova - 60
4. Creighton - 55
5. Seton Hall - 51
6. Providence - 36
7. Marquette - 34
8. Georgetown - 26
9. Xavier - 24
10. Butler - 10

Creighton junior guard Marissa Janning, the reigning BIG EAST Player of the Year, was selected as the 2014-15 BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year by a vote of the league's head coaches. Georgetown rookie forward Dorothy Adomako was tabbed BIG EAST Preseason Freshman of the Year.

Janning, a unanimous All-BIG EAST First Team selection in CU's first season in the conference, was the league's leading scorer in 2013-14, averaging 17.6 points per game over 34 contests for the Bluejays. The junior guard was one of four BIG EAST players to eclipse the 30-point mark on multiple occasions last season, including a 38-point showing against Georgetown to tie the single-game high for '13-14. Janning's 14 20-point games were most among conference players, while her .855 free throw percentage also led the league.

Adomako becomes the second consecutive Preseason Freshman of the Year out of Georgetown. The rookie forward out of Midlothian, Va., was the 2014 Gatorade Virginia Player of the Year. At Cosby High School, the 6-1 Adomako was the nation's 18th- ranked forward by ESPN in the Class of 2014, averaging over 21 points and nine rebounds per game while leading her team to an undefeated season and the Group 6A state title.

The identity of the BIG EAST as a fast-paced, guard-driven league was evident by the Preseason All-BIG EAST selections. Seven of the 10 honorees were guards, while two of the three forwards recognized often play along the perimeter.

DePaul junior guard Brittany Hrynko was one of four unanimous picks to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team. Hrynko's 5.6 assists per game last year led the BIG EAST, while her 2.39 steals listed second. The All-America Honorable Mention selection helped orchestrate the high-scoring DePaul offense, whose 83.5 points per game ranked fifth in Division I last season.

Hrynko's teammate and classmate Megan Rogowski was also a unanimous selection. Rogowski was the top three-point shooter in the league last season, making over 45 percent of her attempts from deep and over three triples per game. Rogowski is the Blue Demons' top returning scorer (15.7 PPG).

All-America Honorable Mention guard Aliyyah Handford was another uncontested pick by the coaches for preseason all-league. Handford led St. John's with a 16.7 scoring average and was one of the most exciting players in the BIG EAST, ranking among the leaders in steals and field goal percentage.

Seton Hall's Ka-Deidre Simmons rounded out the list of unanimous Preseason All-BIG EAST selections. Simmons ran the point for the Pirates last season in what was their most successful year in nearly two decades. Simmons averaged 16.7 PPG, 2.1 SPG, 5.1 APG and a 1.81 assist-turnover ratio, all of which ranked fourth in the conference in their respective categories.

Simmons is SHU's second-leading scorer from 2013-14, while Tabatha Richardson-Smith led the Pirates and ranked third in the BIG EAST with a 17.1 PPG clip. A Preseason All-BIG EAST selection, Richardson-Smith was voted the Most Improved Player by the league's coaches last year after more than tripling her scoring average from her rookie campaign. The junior guard tied Janning's single-game high of 38 points in an overtime win over Marquette last February.

MU's Arlesia Morse, a senior guard, earned a spot on the preseason all-league team after averaging 11.5 points per game over 33 appearances last season. Morse, MU's top returning scorer, came off the bench in all but one contest in '13-14 but eclipsed the 1,000-point mark as the Golden Eagles' No. 3 scorer.

Providence's Alexis Harris rounded out the list of five seniors on the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team. Harris earned All-BIG EAST Second Team honors last year after averaging just shy of a double-double (15.1 PPG, 9.3 RPG) in league play. Harris was the Friars' leading rebounder (8.9 RPG) and her 12 double-doubles last season are the most by any returning BIG EAST player.

Reigning BIG EAST Sixth Man of the Year Caroline Coyer, a junior guard from Villanova, earned a spot on the preseason all-league team, as did St. John's junior guard Danaejah Grant. Coyer is the Wildcats' top returning scorer after ranking second on the squad last year with a 10.2 points per game average. Coyer came off the bench in all about four games last season, including all 18 league contests. Grant was the Red Storm's leading scorer off the bench, averaging 10.9 PPG in 25 appearances which included six starts.

Georgetown's Faith Woodard is the lone sophomore on the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team. Woodard earned a spot on the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team last season after starting 26 games and tallying 10.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per contest along with 80 assists.

PC's Sarah Beal and St. John's Amber Thompson earned Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention accolades. Beal earned all-freshman team honors last season after averaging 11.8 points and 3.8 assists per game as the Friar floor general. Thompson was an all-league honorable mention pick last season after leading the Red Storm with a 9.2 rebounding average which ranked fourth in the BIG EAST.

BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year
Marissa Janning, Creighton, Jr., G

BIG EAST Preseason Freshman of the Year
Dorothy Adomako, Georgetown, Fr., G

Preseason All-BIG EAST Team
Caroline Coyer, Villanova, Jr., G
Danaejah Grant, St. John's, Jr., G
Aliyyah Handford, St. John's, Jr.*
Alexis Harris, Providence, Sr., F
Brittany Hrynko, DePaul, Sr., G*
Arlesia Morse, Marquette, Sr., G
Tabatha Richardson-Smith, Seton Hall, Jr., F
Megan Rogowski, DePaul, Sr., G*
Ka-Deidre Simmons, Seton Hall, RS-Sr., G*
Faith Woodard, Georgetown, So., F

Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention
Sarah Beal, Providence, So., G
Amber Thompson, St. John's, Sr., F

*unanimous pick


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