Villanova women picked 4th in new Big East
NEW YORK - National heavyweights such as defending NCAA champion Connecticut, runner-up Louisville, Rutgers, and Notre Dame have left the Big East Conference, but barriers still exist for Villanova's women's basketball team.
Coach Harry Perretta's team was picked fourth by the conference coaches in the Big East preseason poll, which was released Wednesday.
DePaul, which has usually appeared in the national polls, was picked to finish first. The Blue Demons' Brittany Hrynko was named preseason player of the year and Georgetown's Shayla Cooper was the top rookie.
"A lot of the schools are similar now, which makes the competition more even and a lot of fun, I think," said Perretta, who is entering his 36th season as Villanova's coach.
Big East newcomer Creighton was picked second, followed by St. John's and Villanova.
Xavier and Butler, previously with the Atlantic Ten, are the other two new schools in the Big East, joining the seven who remained with the conference. Creighton was with the Missouri Valley Conference.
"You look at the schedule, and it does seem a little weird," Villanova guard Devon Kane said of the changes in the conference. "But, hey, I'm not complaining."
The postseason tournament will be played at the Allstate Arena, the home of the WNBA's Chicago Sky in suburban Rosemont, Ill.
Wildcats sophomore Caroline Coyer was a preseason all-Big East selection.