Connecticut women picked No. 1 in Big East


NEW YORK (AP) - Connecticut, which has four starters back from last season's Final Four, was picked first in the Big East women's basketball coaches' poll on Thursday.

Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins was selected preseason player of the year for the second straight time.

The Huskies, who won the Big East tournament title last season, received 12 first-place votes and Notre Dame got the other three. The Irish have advanced to the NCAA tournament championship the past two years, beating UConn both times in the Final Four.

Notre Dame won the Big East regular season crown last year.

Louisville was third followed by St. John's, Rutgers, DePaul, Syracuse, Georgetown, South Florida, Villanova, Marquette, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall and Providence.

Joining Diggins as unanimous selections on the preseason team were Bria Hartley of UConn, Anna Martin of DePaul, Sugar Rodgers of Georgetown and Shoni Schimmel of Louisville.

Connecticut freshman Breanna Stewart was chosen as the conference's preseason freshman of the year.

This is the final season that Pitt and Syracuse will play in the conference before moving to the ACC.

There also are three new coaches in the league. Joe Tartamella takes over at St. John's after former coach Kim Barnes Arico left for a job at Michigan.

Tartamella inherits a squad that made it to the regional semifinals for the first time in school history. He has been an assistant coach at the school for nine years.

Keith Brown was promoted from assistant coach at Georgetown. Brown had been an assistant at the school for the past five seasons.

Susan Robinson Fruchtl became the ninth head coach at Providence.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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