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Eastern Connecticut Receives Top Billing in 2015 Little East Conference Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll

Eastern Connecticut Receives Top Billing in 2015 Little East Conference  Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll

Eastern Connecticut Receives Top Billing in 2015 Little East Conference

Women's Basketball Preseason Poll

The Warriors top the poll for the second consecutive year

 

Pawtucket, R.I.Eastern Connecticut State University is tabbed by the Little East Conference head women's basketball coaches as the pre-season favorite to claim the 2015 Regular Season title. With head coach Denise Bierly entering her 22nd season, the 2014 New England Women's Basketball Association (NEWBA) Coach-of-the-Year ranks ninth in winning percentage and tenth in victories among active New England Division III head coaches. She has amassed an impressive 394-188 record with The Warriors, most recently winning the LEC regular season title and conference tournament in 2014/2015.  ECSU earned four of the possible seven first place votes.

 

UMass Dartmouth was selected as the second favorite, earning three first place votes.  The 2014/2015 LEC Coach of the Year Matt Ducharme begins his second season at the helm after taking the Corsairs to 19-8 overall record, 10-4 in LEC in his first campaign, which garnered a share of the LEC regular season title with the Warriors.  The Corsairs return junior Megan Ronaghan (North Attleboro, Mass.), the 2015 LEC Player of the Year, credited with 17.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. She shot a remarkable 51.7 percent from the field and 83.7 percent from the foul line. D3hoops.com has also selected Ronaghan as a pre-season All-American.

 

UMass Boston garnered one first place vote, tallying 45 points to finish third in the pre-season poll.   The Beacons finished third in the LEC last year, with a 9-4 record in conference action, 19-9 overall.  They welcome first year, interim head coach Kristina Baugh to build off of the success of the 2014-2015 campaign.

 

Returning eight letter winners from a team which won NCAA Division III regional and Little East Conference championships a year ago, the Eastern Connecticut State University women's basketball team is ranked 24th in the D3hoops.com Top 25 pre-season poll.  The Warriors were ranked 25th in last year's final national poll after winning their fourth Little East Conference tournament title and advancing through two NCAA tournament games after defeating 12th-ranked University of Scranton, 50-48, on its home court and ending Baruch College's 21-game winning streak, 71-62, to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16. The Warriors were ranked tenth in the Northeast Region at the start of NCAA tournament play.

 

Eastern returns four of its top six scorers (two of them starters) from last year in senior post player Jill Ritrosky (Pittsfield, MA), junior guards Jordyn Nappi (Southington, Conn.) and Julia DePoi (Brookfield, Conn.) and senior post player Erin Brooks (Billerica, MA). As a unit, ECSU seeks to continue its sharpshooting ways, as the Warriors topped the conference in 2013-14 with a .317 three-point field goal percentage. The frontcourt will also look to live up to last season, as ECSU also paced the league in rebounding margin at +9.7, more than two above the second team in the rankings. Ritrosky was named second-team All-New England and first-team All-Little East Conference with averages of 12.5 points and 10.0 rebounds. In a part-time starting role, Nappi averaged 9.2 points with 42 three-point field goals and an 83.1 free throw percentage. DePoi averaged 7.3 points and 5.2 rebounds, and Brooks came off the bench to average 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds.

 

The Little East Conference will sponsor a double round-robin schedule with each teams meeting twice during the regular-season conference circuit. All eight teams will advance to the 2016 Little East Women's Basketball Championship with the quarterfinal round scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Feb. 23. The four quarterfinal winners will advance to the semifinals at the highest remaining seed. The semifinal round will be played on Friday, Feb. 27 with the championship game the following afternoon. The champion of the 2016 Little East Women's Basketball tournament will earn the automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division III tournament.

 

Formed in 1986, the Little East serves as New England's premier athletic conference for public institutions in NCAA Division III. Featuring 19 championship sports, the Little East sponsors quality competition in every season for our student athletes. Our eight state colleges and universities dedicate themselves to an ongoing fulfillment of the Division III mission of passion, responsibility, sportsmanship, and citizenship.

 

2015-2016 Little East Conference Women's Basketball Preseason Poll

Institution

First Place Votes

Total Points

1. Eastern Connecticut

4

57

2. UMass Dartmouth

3

55

3. UMass Boston

1

45

4. Keene State

 

39

5. Western Connecticut

 

34

6. Southern Maine

 

27

7. Rhode Island College

 

22

8. Plymouth State

 

9