NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 09: Geno Auriemma, head coach of the Connecticut Huskies, cuts down the net following a victory over the Louisville Cardinals in the National Final game of the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship at New Orleans Arena on April 9, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
In news that surprises absolutely no one, not only are the defending national champion UConn Huskies the preseason favorites to win the American Athletic Conference, but sophomore Breanna Stewart, the Most Outstanding Player in last year's Final Four, has also been selected as the AAC Player of the Year.
Details via the news release:
UConn was selected unanimously to win the league in the inaugural year of the American Athletic Conference after the Huskies won the NCAA Championship title last year. UConn returns three starters and seven of its top-eight scorers from last year's national championship squad. Connecticut finished 35-4 in 2012-13 to post its eighth-straight 30-win season. The Huskies enter the 2013-14 season having appeared in a record six-straight Final Fours and UConn has advanced to at least the Final Four 11 times since 2000. The Huskies will be led by Preseason American Athletic Conference Player of the Year Breanna Stewart, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four last season. Joining Stewart is junior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and senior Stefanie Dolson, both selected by the coaches as Preseason All-Conference team members.
Louisville, which played UConn in the NCAA championship game in April, is picked to finish second in the conference, followed by USF, Rutgers, SMU, Memphis, Cincinnati, UCF, Temple and Houston.
More via the press release: "The 2014 American Women's Basketball Championship will be hosted at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., March 7-10. Home to the WNBA's Connecticut Sun, the 10,000-seat, state-of-the-art Mohegan Sun Arena opened in November of 2002, and is now internationally recognized as a premier facility. The winner of the conference tournament earns an automatic berth the 2014 NCAA Championship."
And here are the preseason AAC individual honors:
Preseason Player of the Year
Breanna Stewart, UConn, So., F
Preseason Freshman of the Year
Tyler Scaife, Rutgers, Fr., G
Preseason All-Conference Team
Briahanna Jackson, UCF, So., G
Dayeesha Hollins, Cincinnati, R-Sr., G
*Stefanie Dolson, UConn, Sr., C
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, UConn, Jr., F
*Breanna Stewart, UConn, So., F
Keena Mays, SMU, Sr., G
Sara Hammond, Louisville, Jr., F
*Shoni Schimmel, Louisville, Sr., G
Antonita Slaughter, Louisville, Sr., G
Inga Orekhova, USF, Sr., G
Preseason All-Conference Honorable Mention
Betnijah Laney, Rutgers, Jr., G/F
Bria Hartley, UConn, Sr., G