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Southern Maine Little East Conference favorites

PROVIDENCE, R.I.— The University of Southern Maine women’s basketball finds itself in a familiar situation, looking down at the rest of the Little East Conference. The Huskies earned all seven possible first-place votes for 49 total points to earn the top ranking in the annual Little East Conference women’s basketball preseason coaches’ poll after a vote by the eight conference’s head coaches. Each head coach cast a vote, but could not rank their team.

Under the watchful eye of Head Coach Gary Fifield, the University of Southern Maine captured its 11th consecutive Little East Conference Tournament championship and 18th in the program’s history since the inception of the conference in 1986. The Huskies, ranked ninth in the preseason poll, registered their 21st NCAA Tournament appearance after hoisting the conference trophy, where they advanced to the sectional semifinal round for the 16th time. Fifield returns nine student-athletes from last year’s squad, including senior forward Angela Santa Fe (Derry, N.H.).

Eastern Connecticut State University edged out Keene State College for the second position in the annual rankings. The Warriors earned the final first place vote and five second-place tallies for 40 total points, out pointing the Owls by just three markers. Under the direction of Head Coach Denise Bierly, Eastern Connecticut finished fifth in the conference standings last season, posting an overall record of 16-11. Bierly boasts a pair of double digits scorers in Little East All-Conference, first-team selection junior forward Ashley McFertridge (Canton, Conn.) and classmate guard Nicky Morey (Columbia, Conn.).

Western Connecticut State University (31) earned the fourth spot, followed by UMass Boston (23), and Rhode Island College (22). Plymouth State University (14) and UMass Dartmouth (9) completed the preseason rankings.

The Little East Conference opens the 2007-08 slate on Friday, Nov. 16, when five of the eight conference institutions are in action.

Rank Institution 1st Place Points


Southern Maine




Eastern Connecticut 



Keene State College   



Western Connecticut




UMass Boston  



Rhode Island College   



Plymouth State  



UMass Dartmouth