NEWPORT NEWS, Va. –The Saint Joseph's women's basketball team was picked to finish fifth in the Atlantic 10 race, according to a poll of the Atlantic 10's head coaches released today by conference officials. Additionally, senior guard Michelle Baker (Wilmington, Del./Brandywine) was selected to both the Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference Second Team and All-Defensive Team.
Coming off its second-straight WNIT berth, Saint Joseph's returns all five starters, and 11 letterwinners total, from last year's squad that finished 20-12 overall and eighth in the conference at 8-6. The fifth-place selection is the highest for the Hawks since they were picked to finish fourth in 2006-07.
A pair of NCAA Tournament teams, Dayton and Temple, split first place votes, with seven apiece, while Duquesne and Charlotte were picked to finish third and fourth, respectively. The Hawks are followed by St. Bonaventure in sixth, Xavier in seventh, Richmond in eighth and George Washington in ninth. Massachusetts was voted to finish 10th and followed by La Salle, Fordham, Rhode Island and Saint Louis.
Leading the Hawks in scoring (12.2 ppg) and tallying the most points by a Hawk since 2006-07, Baker proved to be the Hawks' "go to" player last season. Pacing Saint Joseph's offense 12 times during the year, she hit numerous big shots for the Hawks, including the game-winning layup against New Hampshire and a team-best 19 points in a win over VCU in the First Round of the WNIT. The anchor of Saint Joseph's defense, Baker earned A-10 All-Defensive Team honors last year after helping the Hawks limit opponents to just 58.6 points per game and 37.2 percent shooting.
Saint Joseph's opens the season on November 11 at Princeton at 7 p.m.
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH (First-Place Votes)
1. Dayton (7)
1. Temple (7)
5. Saint Joseph’s
6. St. Bonaventure
9. George Washington
11. La Salle
13. Rhode Island
14. Saint Louis