The women’s basketball media day was today. It was held at the Richmond Coliseum, the new site for the “neutral” tournament. I actually like the Coliseum as a host site for the next three years…there’s already two teams from Richmond for attendance while getting the games off a true home floor. Hopefully it bodes well going forward for exposure and attendance.
The team voting for potential NCAA teams:
Looking at the tiers, the A-10 figures to have 1 top 25 team (Dayton), 3-4 top 50 teams (Dayton, St. Joe’s, and one or both of DU and Fordham), as well as 7 top 100 teams (the projected top 7). It should make for a two-bid league, with an outside possibility of three bids if someone knocks off Dayton in the tourney, if the top teams take care of business out of conference which has been a problem the last two or three years.
Dayton received twelve of the 13 first place votes while having two first teamers in Hoover and Malott. Amber Deane for Dayton was selected for the preseason second team, and Kelly Austria was named to the All-Defensive team. Having four starters on one of the first two teams or all-defensive team on a team that won an NCAA Tourney game last year, the Flyers are the prohibitive favorite.
St. Joe’s received the other first place vote. Natasha Cloud and Erin Shields were both selected to the second team and Cloud on the All-Defensive team.
Duquesne was third overall, narrowly ahead of Fordham (4th) by one vote. Duquesne’s Wumi Agunbiade was a first team selection, and Orsi Szecsi was a second team selection.
My comments on the overall voting:
There are some rather obvious tiers on the women’s side. Dayton should be the clear favorite, with St. Joe’s clearly second. Duquesne and Fordham are 3 and 4, with a slight DU edge. 5-7 to me are all interchangable right now between the current predictions of GW, Richmond, and VCU. VCU will be young but a team that in two or three years could challenge for an NCAA bid and is a team you’d much rather play early in the season. Spots 8-10 form another tier of St. Louis, St. Bonaventure, and La Salle. George Mason is rebuilding and 11th, and UMass and URI both feature Danny Nee-esquely awful teams (Sharon Dawley from UMass went 3-26 in her 3rd season last year and didn’t get fired…and URI is projected below the Minutemen).
I think Fordham is a bit overrated to be currently placed right with the Dukes, and it’s not a homer opinion. Yes, Erin Rooney is excellent and Samantha Clark appears to be on her way to a couple of Atlantic 10 teams soon enough. However, after that their lineup is lacking compared to a team like Duquesne who figures to have much more depth. Obviously coaching is the question, Burt’s inexperience at head coach vs. Gaitley who is a proven winner in her second go-around in the A-10 after her success at St. Joe’s (her Richmond days were when Richmond was still in the CAA) perhaps evened the voting out.
I think the all-defensive team was the most reasonable all-defensive team I’ve seen from either the men or women on rewarding actual defense and not stats. The lone exception to that to me is Chakecia Miller from GW, who appeared to take TJ McConnell style gambles for steals, but the rest of the team is built around solid defensive abilities. The player with the biggest gripe about not making a team to me is probably Austria, but the voters already selected three Flyers. Well done by all on the defensive selections.