The University of Hartford women's basketball team received its first letdown of the season when the team was picked to finish second in the America East conference in the preseason coaches' poll.
Hartford, who won an NCAA tournament game for the second time in school history, is the reigning America East champion and set a school record for wins last year with 28, but after losing Danielle Hood, a first-team all-conference player, the league coaches gave more first-place votes to the University of Vermont.
"There (are) a lot of people who doubt how good they can be after losing Danielle Hood," head coach Jen Rizzotti said during the team's media day luncheon on Thursday. "I think they are out to prove that this program is about the entire team being successful."
The Hawks did land two players on the preseason all-conference team. Junior Erica Beverly, of Bridgeport, was a unanimous selection and was joined by fellow classmate Diana Delva, of Stamford.
Beverly, who was the America East's top rookie in 2006, scored 8.6 points per game and pulled down 7.3 rebounds last season, just a year after coming off of a knee injury.
"It's a big honor," Beverly said. "I'm looking forward to the season, looking to prove myself again to show how much healthier my knee has gotten the past year."
Hartford opens up the regular season at home on Saturday, Nov. 15 against reigning Ivy league champ Dartmouth. The Hawks start the season with a 26-game home winning streak, which is tied for the longest such streak in the nation.