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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Notre Dame picked to win Big East; UConn's Mosqueda-Lewis named top frosh

Notre Dame, which ended the Maya Moore era at UConn with a victory at the Final Four in April, was picked as the preseason favorite in the Big East ahead of the five-time defending champion Huskies marking the second time since 1993 that UConn wasn't selected to win the conference title.

Notre Dame, which received nine of the 16 first-place votes from the Big East coaches, returns four starters including preseason Big East Player of the Year Skylar Diggins as well as fellow preseason All-Big East first-team selections Natalie Novosel and Devereaux Peters.

UConn was picked to finish second and picked up the other seven No. 1 votes while sophomore Bria Hartley and senior Tiffany Hayes were named to the 12-member preseason all-conference first team while Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis was picked to be the conference's top freshman.
Since being picked to win the league in 1994, UConn has been the preseason favorite every year except in 2005 when the Cappie Pondexter-led Rutgers team was the selection.

Hayes, who averaged 13.7 points per game as a junior, is UConn's top returning scorer. Hartley averaged 12.4 points and joined Moore as the only UConn player to score in double figures in every game in the 2011 NCAA tournament.

Mosqueda-Lewis, who was named the Naismith, WBCA, Parade Magazine, USA Today and Gatorade National Player of the Year after leading her Mater Dei of Santa Ana, Calif. squad to the No. 1 national ranking, is a dynamic 3-point shooter who finished as Mater Dei's all-time leader with 2,744 points, 874 rebounds and 337 3-pointers.

Louisville, Rutgers and Georgetown rounded out the top five in the preseason poll which was announced at the annual Big East media day.
Aside from Diggins, the only unanimous All-Big East picks were DePaul's Keisha Hampton and Sugar Rodgers of Georgetown.

BIG EAST PRESEASON POLL
(First place votes in parenthesis)
1, Notre Dame (9)   219
2. UConn (7)  216
3. Louisville 191
4. Rutgers 176
5. Georgetown 175
6. DePaul 152
7. St. John's 145
8. Syracuse 123
9. West Virginia 108
10. South Florida 96
11. Marquette 92
12. Pittsburgh 62
13. Villanova 54
14. Providence 51
15. Cincinnati 38
16. Seton Hall 22

All-Big East squad (unanimous picks in bold)
Kayla Alexander, Syracuse, Jr., C
Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame, Jr., G
Keisha Hampton, DePaul, Sr., F
Bria Hartley, UConn, So., G
Tiffany Hayes, UConn, Sr., G/F
Natalie Novosel, Notre Dame, Sr., G
Devereaux Peters, Notre Dame, Sr., F/C
Monique Reid, Louisville, Sr., F
Sugar Rodgers, Georgetown, Jr., G
Shoni Schimmel, Louisville, So., G
Shenneika Smith, St. John's, So., G
Da'Shena Stevens, St. John's, Sr., F

HONORABLE MENTION
Stefanie Dolson, UConn, So., C
Khadijah Rushdan, Rutgers, Jr., G
April Sykes, Rutgers, Sr., G
Andrea Smith, South Florida, Sr., G

PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Diggins
PRESEASON FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, UConn

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