West Babylon, N.Y. – In a tightly contested vote that saw four teams earn first place votes, St. Thomas Aquinas came in first in the 2017-18 East Coast Conference Women's Basketball Preseason Poll. In addition, NYIT senior guard, Nina Vukosavljevic (Belgrade, Serbia), has been selected as the league's Preseason Player of the Year.
St. Thomas Aquinas earned five first place votes and 88 points to top the poll. The Lady Spartans only lost two starters off a squad that finished 19-11 and advanced to the semifinals of the ECC Championship a season ago. STAC also returns All-Conference First Team selection and 15.0 point per game scorer, Jenna Erickson, and Third Team All-Conference pick, Adiya Henderson.
NYIT and Roberts Wesleyan were next up in a tie for the No. 2 spot. Both squads also earned first place votes with NYIT earning two and Roberts Wesleyan grabbing one. Bridgeport, Queens, and LIU Post round out the expected ECC Championship teams in the No. 3 through No. 6 positions.
After winning the ECC Regular Season Championship and advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight by earning the East Region Championship, Queens earned the final two first place votes in the poll.
Vukosavljevic earns the league's Preseason Player of the Year award after earning a spot on the All-Conference and All-Met First Team in 2016-17. The point guard averaged 13.4 points per game, was fifth in the ECC with 1.8 steals per game, and added a league-leading 6.1 assists per game. Her assist per game mark was ninth in all of Division II and was the 10th highest single season mark in ECC history. Vukosavljevic enters the season needing just 11 assists to move into the conference's top-10 career leader board. In addition to her All-Conference selection, Vukosavljevic earned a spot on the ECC All-Tournament Team for the third straight year after averaging nearly 20.0 ppg in leading the Bears to the tournament's championship game.
2017-2018 ECC Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll
|School||Pts.||Last Year's Record|
|1. St. Thomas Aquinas (5)||88||19-11 (12-6 ECC)|
|T2. NYIT (2)||78||18-12 (10-8 ECC)|
|T2. Roberts Wesleyan (1)||78||21-13 (11-7 ECC)|
|4. Bridgeport||63||15-14 (9-9 ECC)|
|5. Queens (2)||62||27-5 (17-1 ECC)|
|6. LIU Post||58||11-17 (7-11 ECC)|
|7. Molloy||44||24-9 (12-6 ECC)|
|8. Daemen||42||11-15 (8-10 ECC)|
|9. Dist. Columbia||24||3-25 (2-16 ECC)|
|10. Mercy||13||4-22 (2-16 ECC)|
( ) - first place votes
Preseason Player of the Year - Nina Vukosavljevic, NYIT (5-5, Sr., G, Belgrade, Serbia)