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Southern Maine Has Firm Hold On Women's Basketball Preseason Poll

Southern Maine Has Firm Hold On Top Spot
2006-07 Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll


PROVIDENCE, R.I.-The University of Southern Maine women's basketball team received seven first-place votes and 49 total points to claim the top-spot in the annual Little East Conference Coaches' Poll. The Huskies' have finished atop the conference standings each of the past five seasons. Eastern Connecticut State University and Keene State College rounded out the top-three spots in the preseason rankings.


All eight coaches in the conference circuit submitted their ballot, but could not vote for their own team.


            Under the stewardship of Head Coach Gary Fifield, Southern Maine has been the gold standard in the Little East, earning the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament the past 10 seasons. Last season, the Huskies' posted an impressive 32-2 overall record, including a 14-0 mark in the League. Southern Maine defeated Bowdoin in the NCAA Regional Finals to advance to the program's fifth national semifinal. The Huskies earned the right to play for the national title with a 74-65 victory over Hardin-Simmons (Texas). Southern Maine is ranked third nationally in the USA Today/ESPN DIII Top 25 Preseason Coaches' Poll, and sixth in the preseason rankings. Led by Women's News Preseason National Player of the Year senior forward Ashley Marble, the Huskies' return 10 student-athletes from last season, including eight upperclassmen. Southern Maine opens the 2006-07 campaign at 7:30 p.m., when the Huskies host Husson in the opening round of the Southern Maine Tournament.


            Eastern Connecticut State University edged out Keene State College by just a single point for the second position in the preseason standings. Last season, the Warriors posted a 21-7 overall record, including a 9-5 mark in the Little East, while the Owls' also went 9-5 in the conference circuit, but 16-12 overall. Eastern Connecticut welcomes back 2005-06 All-Conference first-team pick Sandy Mosley, while Keene State returns a pair of student-athletes who received top-honors, senior forward Sarah Begnoche and classmate guard Bri Barnes. Both squads will be hosting tournaments this upcoming weekend. The Warriors will face Roger Williams at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 18, while the Owls welcome Lasell at 3 p.m. on Nov. 17.


            Just seven points off the pace of Keene State, Western Connecticut State University is slotted into the fourth spot in the preseason poll. Last year, the Colonials posted an overall record of 15-13, including a 9-5 mark in the Little East. A 2005-06 All-Conference first-team selection, junior guard Ally Greenwood returns as the offensive catalyst, scoring 10.5 points and handing out 5.1 assists per game. Western Connecticut squares off against Newbury at 8 p.m. on Nov. 17 in the first round of the Elms College Tournament.


           Rhode Island College (22), Plymouth State University (21), University of Massachusetts-Boston (11), and University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth (10) round out the second half of the 2006-07 Little East Conference Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll.      


2006-07 Little East Conference
Preseason Women's Basketball Coaches' Poll


University of Southern Maine



Eastern Connecticut State University

(1) 40

Keene State College


Western Connecticut State University


Rhode Island College


Plymouth State University


University of Massachusetts-Boston

8. University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth   10

(first place votes in parentheses)