Rhode Island College predicted to capture LEC Women's Basketball title
Western Connecticut picked to finish in fifth in 2011-12

official press release from Jack Holleran - LEC Director of Communications

NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA (Nov. 14) — The Rhode Island College women’s basketball team is the unanimous choice to capture the 2011-12 Little East regular-season title, according to the annual preseason coaches’ poll that was released by the conference office this afternoon. The Anchorwomen received each of the eight first-place votes for a total of 64 points to earn the program’s highest ranking in the 15-year history of the coaches’ survey.

The University of Southern Maine has been projected to finish second after receiving 54 points, while Eastern Connecticut State University (43) and Keene State College (40) completed the top-half of the preseason poll.

Under the watchful eye of Marcus Reilly, Rhode Island College became just the second team in school history to reach 20 victories in a single-season, matching the previous standard set by the 1997-98 squad.  A year ago, the Anchorwomen posted an overall record of 20-7, including a 9-5 mark within the conference circuit. Rhode Island College earned the No. 4 seed in the Little East tournament, and defeated fifth-seeded UMass Dartmouth to reach the semifinal round for the first time in six years. The Anchorwomen led the conference in 3-point percentage (.342) and steals (11.3 per game), while ranking second in assists (14.5 per game), scoring margin (+12.7), and scoring offense (69.9 ppg).Rhode Island College scored at least 80 points seven times in 2011, including a season-best 95 against Albertus Magnus.

Reilly will welcome back eight players from the 2011 squad, including four starters. The Rhode Island College offensive attack will be led by the interior and exterior combination of 2011 All-Little East, first-team selections Rachel Riley (Coventry, R.I.) and Stephanie Coro (North Providence, R.I.). Riley was dominant inside the paint, averaging a double-double of 14.2 points and 11.3 rebounds per game as a junior. The majority of Coro’s production (18.4 ppg) came from the premier, knocking down 63 of her 167 (.377) attempts from behind the three-point arc. The Anchorwomen open their 2012 schedule at 2 p.m. on November 19, when Rhode Island College travels to the University of New England.
 
The Huskies have been projected to finish second in the Little East final regular-season standings for the third time in the past four seasons. Gary Fifield led Southern Maine to the championship round of the 2011 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England tournament last winter. The Huskies completed the campaign with an overall record of 18-11, marking the 34th consecutive season with at least 18 victories. Southern Maine earned the No.2 seed in the Little East Championship by virtue of an 11-3 mark in conference play. The Huskies were upset in the semifinals by the Warriors.

Southern Maine will return nine student-athletes from the 2011 squad, including four starters. The Huskies will be led offensively by senior forward Courtney Cochran (Waite, Maine). The 2011 All-Little East, first-team selection sat atop the conference standings in offensive rebounding (4.0 rpg), while ranking among the leaders in defensive rebounding (3rd, 6.8), rebounding (3rd, 10.7), free throw percentage (5th, .778), scoring (5th, 15.1 ppg), blocked shots (7th, .07 bpg), and field goal percentage (8th, .457). She scored a season-high 25 points and pulled in a season-best 21 rebounds against Bowdoin College on Nov. 30, 2010. Southern Maine will open the season at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 15, when the Huskies travel to University of New England.

The top-six teams in the final regular season standings will advance to the 2012 Little East tournament.  The conference will sponsor two first-round contests on Tuesday, Feb. 21, while the two highest seeded squads earn a bye into the semifinals. The semifinal and championship rounds will be hosted at the No. 1 seed, beginning on Friday, Feb. 24.  The two semifinal round winners will meet in the championship the following afternoon. The Little East champion will earn the automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Completing the annual preseason coaches’ survey in projected order of finish are Western Connecticut State University (33), University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (27), University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (27), University of Massachusetts Boston (16), and Plymouth State University (11).

Formed in 1986, the Little East serves as New England's premier athletic conference for public institutions in NCAA Division III.  Featuring 19 championship sports, the Little East sponsors quality competition in every season for our student athletes.  Our eight state colleges and universities dedicate themselves to an ongoing fulfillment of the Division III mission of passion, responsibility, sportsmanship, and citizenship.   


2011-12 Little East Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Rank

Institution

First Place

Total Points

1

Rhode Island College

8

64

2

University of Southern Maine

 

54

3

Eastern Connecticut State University

 

43

4

Keene State College

 

40

5

Western Connecticut State University

 

33

6

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

 

27

7

University of Massachusetts Boston

 

16

8

Plymouth State University

 

11