ECU women picked 4th in preseason American Athletic Conference poll


ORLANDO, Fla. (WNCT)  – The East Carolina women’s basketball team was picked to finish fourth in the American Athletic Conference after a vote by the league’s head coaches, the conference announced Monday.

Topping the poll was UConn with 100 points and 10 first-place votes, while USF was picked to finish second with 91 points. Entering its second season in The American and returning its top two scorers and rebounders from the 2014-15 squad, the Pirates accumulated 75 points, just one behind Temple who was picked to finish third. The Owls defeated the Pirates during the regular season, before ECU redeemed itself with a victory in the quarterfinals of the 2015 American Conference Championship.

Seniors Jada Payne and I’Tiana Taylor received preseason all-conference second-team honors, joining UConn and USF as the only teams with multiple selections. Payne broke her own single-season school record for three-pointers made with 80 and led the Pirates in scoring with 17.1 points per game, en route to earn All-American Athletic Conference First Team recognition last season. Taylor averaged 11.3 points and a team-best 8.9 rebounds per contest and was named the league’s newcomer-of-the-year, in addition to receiving all-conference second team honors.

East Carolina will open the 2015-16 campaign at the Islanders Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas Nov. 13-14. The Pirates will take on the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley in the opener before challenging host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. ECU will face Alcorn State in its home opener on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m., at Williams Arena in Minges Coliseum.

Preseason Player-of-the-Year

Breanna Stewart, UConn, Sr., F*

Preseason All-Conference First-Team

Breanna Stewart, UConn, Jr., F*

Moriah Jefferson, UConn, Sr., G*

Courtney Williams, USF, Sr., G*

Morgan Tuck, UConn, Jr., F

Alisia Jenkins, USF, Sr., F

* denotes unanimous pick

Preseason All-Conference Second-Team

Jada Payne, East Carolina, Sr., G/F

Kia Nurse, UConn, So., G

Ashley Clark, Tulsa, Sr., G

Ariel Hearn, Memphis, Sr., G

I’Tiana Taylor, East Carolina, Sr., F

2015-16 Preseason Coaches’ Poll

(First-place votes in parenthesis)

Team – Points

1. UConn (10) – 100

2. USF (1) – 91

3. Temple – 76

4. East Carolina – 75

5. Tulane – 60

6. Tulsa – 56

7. Memphis – 50

8. SMU – 29

9. UCF – 28

10. Cincinnati – 22

11. Houston – 18

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