Big East Media Day is tomorrow!
We’ve already covered the preseason awards for men’s basketball, so now we turn our attention to women’s basketball. It is, if we’re being honest here, the more important basketball league for Marquette fans, as Carolyn Kieger is the coach with the team expected to win the Big East. Steve Wojciechowski merely has a team that could contend for a conference title.
Hell, there’s even a teensy chance that the Al McGuire Center could be hosting NCAA tournament games come March. But that’s for the future. For now, let’s focus on the best players in the conference as we head into the season.
Oh, wait, that means we have to start with a Golden Eagle.......
Big East Preseason Player of the Year: Allazia Blockton, Marquette
I mean, duh. She was the preseason and postseason POY last year as a junior. She’s back for round four after averaging 19.1 points (best in the Big East), 6.2 rebounds (10th best in the Big East), and 2.8 assists a year ago.
Big East Preseason Freshman of the Year: Kadaja Bailey, St. John’s
Here’s the deal when it comes to picking a top freshman. There’s two women’s basketball sites that I’m aware of that have public rankings for recruits: ESPN and Prospects Nation. Bailey is ranked #32 in the country by PN and #91 by ESPN. She’s the only freshman in the league that’s ranked in the top 100 by both places, so she gets the nod here.
Shanniah Wright from Georgetown is at #83 in ESPN’s system but not in PN’s top 150 at all. DePaul’s Nadege Jean (#110) and Providence’s Kaela Webb (#124) are both in the PN top 150, but they don’t turn up on ESPN’s list. I suppose any of the three are possible for the top spot, but Bailey seems like the most likely option here. FUN FACT: Kaela Webb was once committed to play for Marquette.
Preseason All-Big East Team
The lesson as always is don’t overthink these things. Blockton, Campbell, Schickel, and White are all First Teamers from the end of last season. In fact, all five First Teamers from last year are back for 2018-19. However, I still believe that Creighton’s Audrey Faber got the short end of the stick last season, so I’m swapping out DePaul’s Mart’e Grays for Faber in my five woman team. The Big East will undoubtedly undermine this decision by announcing an 11 player all-league team like they did last year, but I’m sticking with it.
Top Five Teams
1 - Marquette
2 - DePaul
3 - Creighton
4 - St. John’s
5 - Villanova
Marquette and DePaul finished in a tie for first at 15-3 last year and both squads return essentially everyone. I’m giving the advantage to Marquette here as the Golden Eagles were the #1 seed in the conference tournament last year. I think Villanova will nudge backwards a little bit from last season while Creighton will be a little bit better. St. John’s had two great freshmen last year, so I’ve got them in a bit of an ascent here. Yes, that’s the same top five from last year’s final standings, but I don’t really see anyone else making a jump upwards. Maybe Georgetown, as the Hoyas were 9-9 and also gave Marquette fits.