Women’s basketball Big East Conference preview

Musketeers picked to finish eighth in the Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll

By Jack Dunn | Campus News Editor

The Musketeers are hoping to make an about-face in the Big East Conference after collecting five league wins in the last two seasons. Xavier was picked to finish eighth in the Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

DePaul women’s basketball has once again found itself at the top of the poll in a unanimous decision.

The Blue Demons earned all first place votes and a total of 81 points, with St. John’s coming in second with 70. DePaul is shaping up to be the team to beat this year in the Big East.

Coming off their fourth Big East Tournament title in the last six seasons, they have since become the winningest program since the conference realignment in 2013.

Finishing 2018-19 with a 26-8 overall record and returning three of their starters, there is no reason for the Blue Devils to expect anything less than success this year.

St. John’s finished with a sub .500 record last season at 15-16 but might see a large jump this year.

In its group of three returners comes team leader in scoring, steals and assists redshirt junior Tiana England. The Red Storm was also the only team in the league last season to have all of its starters average in double-digits in scoring against Big East teams. Expect them to put up a challenge near the top of the standings.

Seton Hall could also make a big jump in the standings this year. Although they tied with the Red Storm for eighth last season at 15-16, they do have Big East Preseason Player of the Year Shadeen Samuels, who captured the league scoring title last year by averaging 20.2 points per game. Despite bowing out in the first round of the WNIT, the Pirates have made the postseason in five of the past six seasons.

Creighton earned fourth in the Coaches’ poll this season after finishing at 15-16 overall last season. The Bluejays will return their top scorer and rebounder in senior forward Jaylyn Agnew. They were also the only team to beat both the regular-season champs Marquette and the Big East Tournament champ DePaul.

Providence posted their most overall wins in 10 years last season, going 19-16. They also picked up their most Big East victories since 1996-97 with eight. This led them to their first national postseason appearance in the WNIT, where they got to the round of 16.

The Friars return four out of five starters and are led by reigning Big East Freshman of the Year Mary Bakerville. Providence has a chance to make another big jump in the standings this season.

The Villanova Wildcats tied with the Hoyas for fourth place last season but will return one of the nation’s best shooters in Mary Gedaka. She finished third in the country among all Division I players in threes while making 66% of her field goals. She looks to lead the Wildcats to their ninth consecutive postseason appearance this season.

Butler got off to a hot start last season, starting 15-1 and eventually going 23-10 overall. They also return their No. 2 scorer in senior guard Kristen Spolyar. However, the Bulldogs are losing three of their starters this year and were voted seventh in this year’s coaches’ poll.

Marquette is coming off back-to-back regular season titles and was voted ninth in this year’s preseason poll. All five of its graduating seniors were 1,000-plus point scorers for their careers, leaving their new-look team with large shoes to fill.

The Georgetown Hoyas made it to the quarter finals in the 2019 WNIT, but the Hoyas were picked last in this year’s poll. Losing 2,000-point scorer Dionna White to graduation on top of losing four starters leads to a long road ahead for the Hoyas.