Oct. 21, 2010
NEW YORK, N.Y.-The Pitt women's basketball team was picked to finish 13th in a preseason poll voted on by Big East coaches, released Thursday morning at the league's annual media day held at BB King's restaurant in New York City.
Pitt's 67 points places them just behind Providence, who totaled 70 points. Reigning National Champions Connecticut earned all 15 first place votes (teams cannot vote for themselves) and totaled 225 points as the preseason favorite. West Virginia was favored second with 207 points, while Georgetown earned 186 points for third in the poll.
"This ranking shows how strong and competitive the Big East is," Head Coach Agnus Berenato said. "We have an extremely talented league from the first team to the 16th team. I believe our team will be motivated with a ranking of 13th. It is not where you start, but instead, where you finish that counts."
Rounding out the top five was Notre Dame (177) and St. John's (173). The poll continues with DePaul in sixth (164), Rutgers in seventh (131), Louisville in eighth (125), Syracuse in ninth (120), Marquette at 10th (90), USF in 11th (80), Providence at 12th (70), Villanova in 14th (46), Cincinnati in 15th (43) and Seton Hall at 16th (16).
The Panthers enter the 2010-11 season with five seniors, including 2009-10 Big East Rebounding Champion Chelsea Cole and All-Big East Honorable Mention selection Jania Sims. Cole is coming off a year where she averaged a league-high 11.6 rebounds per game, while Sims averaged 12.9 points per game.
The Panthers have recorded five consecutive winning seasons under Berenato. During that time, Pitt has earned a record-breaking five straight postseason appearances, including back-to-back NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances in 2008 and 2009.
Pitt opens the season Nov. 12 hosting Youngstown State at the Petersen Events Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 11 a.m., as part of Pitt's second annual School Day. The first chance to see the Panthers in action, however, will be an exhibition game against Seton Hill on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center.
2010-11 Preseason BIG EAST Coaches' Poll
1. Connecticut (15) 225
2. West Virginia (1) 207
3. Georgetown 186
4. Notre Dame 177
5. St. John's 173
6. DePaul 164
7. Rutgers 131
8. Louisville 125
9. Syracuse 120
10. Marquette 90
11. USF 80
12. Providence 70
13. Pitt 67
14. Villanova 46
15. Cincinnati 43
16. Seton Hall 16
*First-place votes in parentheses
2010-11 Preseason Awards
Preseason Player of the Year
*Maya Moore, Connecticut, Sr., F
Preseason Freshman of the Year
Bria Hartley, Connecticut, G
Preseason All-BIG EAST Team
*Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame, So., G
Keisha Hampton, DePaul, Jr., F
*Tiffany Hayes, Connecticut, Jr., G
Sarah Miles, West Virginia, Sr., G
Monique Reid, Louisville, Jr., F
Liz Repella, West Virginia, Sr., G
Angel Robinson, Marquette, Sr., G
*Sugar Rodgers, Georgetown, So., G
Shenneika Smith, St. John's, So., G
Da'Shena Stevens, St. John's, Jr., F
Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention
Erica Morrow, Syracuse, Sr., G
Deirdre Naughton, DePaul, Sr., G
Sam Quigley, DePaul, Sr., G
Khadijah Rushdan, Rutgers, R-Jr., G
* - unanimous selections
Pitt Defeats Bryant, 76-60, to Snap Two-Game Skid
Pitt to Close Non-Conference Home Slate Tuesday
Panthers Fall to Charlotte, 70-63
Panthers Looking to Bounce Back Against 49ers
Pitt Suffers First Loss to Purdue, 67-61
(RV) Panthers to Face Purdue in ACC/Big Ten Challenge