St. Francis (Pa.) picked as preseason favorite in NEC
There is no real news flash that the Red Flash were chosen to win the Northeast Conference this season.
St. Francis (Pa.) was again picked as the team to beat by the women's basketball coaches who announced their preseason poll Wednesday. Sacred Heart was second with Monmouth, third and Long Island, fourth. Quinnipiac came in at fifth, followed by Wagner in sixth and Mount St. Mary's was seventh. Robert Morris was eighth with Fairleigh Dickinson, St. Francis (N.Y.) and Central Connecticut State last.
Red Flash 6-foot-2 senior center Beth Swink was named to the first team. The Connellsville graduate who averaged 21.3 points and 9.7 rebounds last season also was the NEC Player of the Year.
St Francis coach Jill Poe said she is fortunate to have Swink for one more season. She will lead a squad that has won three consecutive conference championships and earned an automatic bid in the NCAA tournament each of those years. They were a perfect 18-0 last season in conference play. This is the third consecutive year St. Francis was chosen to win the conference and the sixth in the past 12 years.
"I know we are the hunted," said Poe, who begins her second season with the Flash after being an assistant coach for Duquesne. "The streak (of consecutive conference victories and tournament crowns) is important to us, but we can't rely on that. We just have to continue to do the things which we have done every year. The thing about the NEC is every team has gotten better."
Robert Morris hopes to be better than its 3-24 finish last season.
"I don't really think preseason polls really mean much," said Robert Morris coach Sal Buscaglia, in his second season. "Because it is where you are at the end of the year that counts. But, we have a totally different team from last year. So I feel good about this team and we will be successful."
NEC women's basketball
Preseason coaches' poll
1. St. Francis (Pa.)
2. Sacred Heart
4. Long Island
7. Mount St. Mary's
8. Robert Morris
9. Fairleigh Dickinson
10. St. Francis (N.Y.)
11. Central Connecticut State
All NEC First team
Niamh Dwyer, Monmouth, G
Joy Gallagher, Wagner, G
Gabriella Guegbelet, Central Connecticut State, F
Amanda Pape, Sacred Heart, G
Beth Swink, St. Francis (Pa.), C