FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 10, 2016
AIC & Bentley Pegged as Preseason Favorites by NE-10 Coaches
MANSFIELD, Mass. – The Bentley Falcons and American International Yellow Jackets have been selected as the top teams in the NE-10 Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll, it was revealed by the league office on Thursday.
For complete results of the poll, which is voted upon by the league's head coaches, please see below.
Bentley, the defending NE-10 Champion, was the clear-cut favorite by the coaches in the Northeast Division, picking up 105 points and 14 first-place votes. Meanwhile, AIC was projected to defend its Southwest Division title after collecting 75 points and seven first-place votes.
The Falcons, who were ranked as the No. 1 team in the country in the WBCA Preseason Top 25 Coaches' Poll, not only won the NE-10, but also won the NCAA East Regional title and made an appearance in the national semifinals. Head coach Barbara Stevens returns nearly all of her 2015-16 squad, including reigning NE-10 Player of the Year Jen Gemma, as well as all-conference guard Lauren Green. Bentley's top five scorers from last season are back on the roster this season led by Gemma, the East Region Player of the Year and consensus All-American a season ago, who led the NE-10 in scoring with 20.0 points per game.
The Yellow Jackets are coming off one of their best seasons in program history after going 26-6 overall and 16-4 in conference play. Last season, AIC reached the finals of the NE-10 Championship and made it to the semifinals of the NCAA East Regional. Despite losing both of its all-conference selections from last season, reigning NE-10 Coach of the Year Kristen Hutchison brings back two starters along with Dana Watts, who averaged 11.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game off the bench as a freshman.
Saint Anselm and Stonehill tied for second in the Northeast Division with 79 points apiece, while the Hawks received one vote for first place. Assumption was slotted at No. 4 with 72 points, followed by Southern New Hampshire in fifth with 59. Merrimack (6th – 35 Pts.), Franklin Pierce (7th – 26) and Saint Michael's (8th – 21) rounded out the division.
Five different teams in the Southwest Division picked up votes for first place. Adelphi claimed the second spot in the division, earning 66 points and three first-place votes. New Haven was third with 50 points, notching a pair of first-place votes as well. Le Moyne and Southern Connecticut tied for fourth with 47 points, while the Owls garnered one first-place nod. Saint Rose was sixth with 46 points and a pair of first-place votes, while Pace was tabbed seventh with 40 points.
In addition to Bentley being voted the No. 1 team in the land, Saint Anselm also received votes in the WBCA Top 25 Coaches' Poll. Bentley was also the No. 1 team in the Women's Division II Bulletin Preseason Top 25. The WDII Bulletin also selected Gemma as a Preseason All-American, landing a Super 16 selection.
Additional 2015-16 all-conference returnees include Candace Andrews (Saint Anselm), Kelly Martin (Stonehill), Sierra Clark (Adelphi), Allison Stoddard (Assumption) and Taylor Nazon (Saint Rose).
A new season begins for NE-10 teams on Friday, Nov. 11. The NE-10 Championship is set for first round contests to take place on Feb. 24. The quarterfinals will be on Feb. 26, while the semifinals are slated for March 2. The 2017 NE-10 title game will be held on Sunday, March 5.
2016-17 NE-10 Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Bentley - 105 Pts. (14)
t-2. Saint Anselm - 79 (1)
t-2. Stonehill - 79
4. Assumption - 72
5. So. New Hampshire - 59
6. Merrimack - 35
7. Franklin Pierce - 26
8. Saint Michael's - 21
1. American Int'l - 75 Pts. (7)
2. Adelphi - 66 (3)
3. New Haven - 50 (2)
t-4. Le Moyne - 47
t-4. So. Connecticut - 47 (1)
6. Saint Rose - 46 (2)
7. Pace - 40
(#) - indicates first-place votes
ABOUT THE NORTHEAST-10
The Northeast-10 Conference is an association of 15 NCAA Division II colleges and universities located in New England and New York that is committed to supporting balanced academic and athletic opportunities for more than 6,500 student-athletes.
Each year, 4,500 of those student-athletes compete in conference championships in 24 sports, making the NE-10 the largest DII conference in the country in terms of sport sponsorship. Leading the way in the classroom, on the field and within the community, the Northeast-10 is proud of its comprehensive program and the experience it provides student-athletes.