Oct. 18, 2012
NEW YORK, N.Y. – The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team was selected to finish first in the BIG EAST for the 2012-13 regular season as announced by the conference on Thursday morning at the annual BIG EAST Media Day. The selection was made by the league’s 15 head coaches, who were not permitted to select their own teams. The Huskies have captured 19 regular season titles, 18 tournament crowns and have won both titles in the same season 15 times. UConn took home the 2011-12 tournament crown. Freshman center Breanna Stewart was tabbed as the 2012-13 Preseason BIG EAST Freshman of the Year, while Stefanie Dolson, Bria Hartley and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis were selected to the Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team.
The Huskies garnered 194 points and 12 first place votes, while Notre Dame was selected to finish second with 182 points and three first place votes. Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins was selected as the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.
Louisville was selected to finish third, with St. John’s picked fourth and Rutgers rounding out the top five. DePaul was slotted sixth, while Syracuse and Georgetown were separated by only one point in seventh and eighth, respectively. The Hoyas were followed by USF, Villanova and Marquette in ninth, 10th and 11th. Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall and Providence followed the Golden Eagles, with the Panthers and Pirates tied for 13th.
Stewart is the third consecutive Husky to earn the Preseason BIG EAST Freshman of the Year nod as Mosqueda-Lewis and Hartley received the honor in 2011 and 2010, respectively. The Syracuse, N.Y. native comes into Connecticut with a significant amount of experience winning four gold medals with Team USA’s U16, U17, U18 and U19 squads. Stewart averaged 26.4 points, 13.9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2.8 steals and 4.2 blocks per game in high school and was rewarded with six National Player of the Year recognitions by Gatorade, USA Today, Parade Magazine, McDonald’s the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and the Naismith Trophy.
Dolson, a 2011-12 Preseason Honorable Mention selection, was named to her first Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team following a solid sophomore campaign where she led the Huskies in rebounding with 57 denials and averaged 10.4 points and 6 rebounds per game while registering 20 double-figure performances. She excelled during UConn’s postseason run to the Final Four being selected to the 2011-12 BIG EAST All-Tournament Team and the 2011-12 All-Kingston Regional Team.
Hartley notched another stellar season in the Husky uniform and was honored as a 2011-12 WBCA/State Farm All-American after averaging 14 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game her sophomore outing. Additionally, Hartley shot 46.5 percent from the field, tallied 28 double-figure performances and five 20-plus games on the season which landed her a spot on the 2011-12 All-BIG EAST First Team.
Mosqueda-Lewis had a breakout freshman year at Connecticut with a team-best 15 points per game and was third on the squad in rebounding with 5.4 grabs per game. She was selected the 2011-12 BIG EAST Freshman and Sixth Man of the Year, while also earning a seat on the 2011-12 BIG EAST All-Tournament Team, the All-BIG EAST Second Team and the All-BIG EAST Freshman Team.
The Huskies open the 2012-13 campaign with two home exhibition games on November 2 at 7 p.m. against Indiana University (Pa.) at Gampel Pavilion and November 7 against Holy Family at 7 p.m. at the XL Center. UConn’s first regular season contest will be on November 11 at 1:30 p.m. against College of Charleston at Gampel Pavilion.
2012-13 Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Connecticut (12) 194
2. Notre Dame (3) 182
3. Louisville 167
4. St. John’s 144
5. Rutgers 143
6. DePaul 138
7. Syracuse 105
8. Georgetown 104
9. USF 97
10. Villanova 78
11. Marquette 75
12. Cincinnati 61
13. Pittsburgh 31
Seton Hall 31
15. Providence 25
Preseason Player of the Year
Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame, Sr., G
Preseason Freshman of the Year
*Breanna Stewart, Connecticut, Fr., F
Preseason All-BIG EAST Team
Stefanie Dolson, Connecticut, Jr., C
*Bria Hartley, Connecticut, Jr., G
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Connecticut, So., F
*Anna Martin, DePaul, Sr., G
*Sugar Rodgers, Georgetown, Sr., G
*Shoni Schimmel, Louisville, Jr., G
*Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame, Sr., G
Monique Oliver, Rutgers, Sr., F/C
Nadirah McKenith, St. John’s, Sr., G
Shenneika Smith, St. John’s, Sr., G
Kayla Alexander, Syracuse, Sr., C
Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention
Monique Reid, Louisville, Sr., F
Laura Sweeney, Villanova, Sr., F