Media Day for Big East women’s basketball was on Thursday, and things kicked off with the league announcing the results of the preseason polling of the coaches. YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles were picked to finish third this season after finishing second last season in head coach Megan Duffy’s first season at the helm. In addition to that team voting result, senior guard Selena Lott was voted onto the Big East’s preseason 11 woman all-conference team.
Congrats to #muwbb senior guard Selena Lott on being named to the Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team at today's @BIGEASTWBB Virtual Media Day!— Marquette WBB (@MarquetteWBB) October 29, 2020
: https://t.co/uo1ClJabuU#RelentlessGrowth pic.twitter.com/DG9D1Mt4nY
To the surprise of no one at all in the entire known universe, UConn is the preseason favorite in the Big East in their first year back in the league. The Huskies picked up all 10 possible first place votes as coaches could not vote for themselves. UConn head coach Geno Auriemma sent his first place vote in the direction of DePaul, the 2019-20 Big East regular season and tournament champions. The Blue Demons finished with 90 points, 10 points behind Connecticut. For what it’s worth, nine second place votes and one first place vote should be 91 points, so DePaul is not a unanimous choice for second place amongst the rest of the league.
Marquette came in with 83 points to start off Duffy’s second season in charge, and there’s a very rapid drop off. St. John’s is fourth at 69 points, followed by Creighton at 60 and then Seton Hall at 59. There’s another drop off after that, creating a final tier of teams from seventh place downwards. Villanova (44 points), Butler (37), Xavier (31), Providence (22), and Georgetown (10) round out the poll in that order. It’s worth noting that Georgetown received 10 points, which is the exact number that you get if you get 10 last place votes and nothing else.
Here’s what the league office’s press release had to say about Lott’s inclusion on the preseason all-conference team:
Lott spearheaded the Golden Eagles to a second-place finish in 2019-20 after being slotted ninth in the preseason poll. Over 17 league games, the All-BIG EAST Second Team member averaged 15.0 points and 5.9 assists, the second-highest clip in the conference.
Marquette’s press release included these notes on Lott:
Lott had a breakout junior season, leading the team in scoring with 15.5 points per game. She was among the league leaders in field goal percentage (3rd, 52.5%), assists (5.6 apg.) and steals (1.8 spg.). She also reached double figures in scoring 25 times and netted 20-or-more on five occasions.
The Troy, N.Y., native made the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll five times in 2019-20 and earned BIG EAST Player of the Week honors on Jan. 13. Her performances in 2019-20 earned her a spot on the All-BIG EAST Second Team.
I feel like this doesn’t truly elaborate on Lott’s impact on the Golden Eagles last season. She had to be a steadying force both in the backcourt and on the floor in general as Duffy worked in five freshmen that she didn’t recruit to Marquette. Lott’s assists average of 5.6 per game was 18th best in the country, while her assist rate was #48. Lott knocked together an effective field goal percentage of 59.9%, which was 65th best in the country per HerHoopStats.com, and she ranked 35th in HHS’ Points Per Scoring Attempt metric.
In short, it would have been professional malfeasance by the league’s coaches if Lott was not a unanimous choice for the preseason all-conference team. Thankfully, she was put on the ballot by all 10 non-Duffy coaches, so I don’t have to demand that someone resign in shame.
Lott is one of five unanimous picks for the team. She is joined by Sonya Morris from DePaul, Qadashah Hoppie from St. John’s, Desiree Elmore from Seton Hall, and Maddy Siegrist from Villanova. While two UConn women are on the all-conference team, neither of them are unanimous selections. Same goes for Big East Preseason Player of the Year, UConn guard Christyn Williams. I suspect that what happened is that Williams had votes slip out of her hands and to her two teammates on the all-league team, Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Evina Westbrook. It’s also possible that one of the unanimous choices on the all-league team picked up a non-Auriemma vote somewhere along the way, but given that we’re talking about the Huskies here, I doubt that’s the case.
I’m kind of interested by the fact that St. John’s put two women on the all-conference team while still finishing behind the Golden Eagles and their one all-league representative in the team poll. I wonder how close MU forward Lauren Van Kleunen was to making it onto the all-conference squad after averaging 11.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game last year.
We’ll wrap up with a full rundown of all of the league voting. If you’ve got thoughts and/or reactions, well, that’s what the comments section is for.
Big East Preseason Player of the Year
Christyn Williams, Connecticut, Jr., G
Big East Preseason Freshman of the Year
Paige Bueckers, Connecticut, Fr., G
Preseason All-Big East Team
Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Connecticut, Jr., F
Evina Westbrook, Connecticut, R-Jr., G
Temi Carda, Creighton, Sr., G
Lexi Held, DePaul, Jr., G
Sonya Morris, DePaul, Jr., G
Selena Lott, Marquette, Sr., G
Leilani Correa, St. John’s, So., G
Qadashah Hoppie, St. John’s, Sr., G
Desiree Elmore, Seton Hall, Sr., G/F
Maddy Siegrist, Villanova, So., F
A’riana Gray, Xavier, Sr., F
Big East Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll
Connecticut, 100 points
St. John’s, 69
Seton Hall, 59