NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The Saint Joseph's women's basketball team was picked to finish sixth in the Atlantic 10 race, according to a poll of the Atlantic 10's head coaches released today by conference officials. Additionally, senior guard Ashley Prim was selected to the Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference Third Team.
Coming off its third-straight WNIT berth, Saint Joseph's returns one starter and seven letterwinners total, from last year's squad that finished 22-11 overall and tied for fourth in the conference at 9-5. Despite losing strong players to graduation, the addition of transfers Chatilla van Grinsven, Kelsey Berger and Natasha Cloud and freshmen Ciara Andrews, Sarah Fairbanks, Casey Smith and Jordan Strode will bolster the loss of senior starters.
"After losing four seniors, I was surprised we were picked that high," said head coach Cindy Griffin. "It tells you what kind of respect the coaches in the A-10 have for us."
Reigning A-10 champion Dayton was picked first, receiving seven of 16 first-place votes. The Flyers were followed by Richmond, Charlotte, Duquesne, Temple and Saint Joseph's. The Hawks were followed by St. Bonaventure in seventh, George Washington in eighth, La Salle in ninth, Xavier in 10th and Fordham in 11th. A-10 newcomers Butler and VCU were picked 12th and 13, respectively, while Saint Louis, Massachusetts and Rhode Island rounded out the poll.
The Hawks' returning leader in scoring (9.7 ppg), assists (106) and steals (43), Prim appeared in all 33 games last season and started 29 of them. Playing in 97 straight games in the Crimson and Gray, Prim has led her squad in assists the past three years and enters the season 10th all-time in career assists (323). An A-10 All-Rookie Team selection as a freshman and A-10 Sixth Man of the Year as a sophomore, SJU's co-captain is coming off a career-high in points as a junior (320).
"It's terrific that Ashley was recognized with a preseason honor," said Griffin. "She is one of our leaders this year and is going to contribute a lot on both ends of the court."
Saint Joseph's opens the season on November 11 when it hosts Princeton at 3 p.m.