Five-time defending Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) women's basketball tournament champion the University of New England was predicted to continue the streak in the 2017 CCC Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Nor'easters earned seven of the 10 first place votes and 94 points for the top spot.
Voting was conducted by the 10 CCC women's basketball head coaches last week.
UNE went into last year's CCC Championship Tournament as the No. 1 seed for the sixth straight year after going 16-2 (23-6 overall) in conference play. In the tournament the Nor'easters defeated No. 8 seed Gordon, No. 5 seed Eastern Nazarene, and No. 3 seed Western New England to capture the title.
In the NCAA Tournament, the CCC Tournament Champions lost a heartbreaker to Scanton as the Royals hit a three-pointer in the final seconds to eliminate UNE, 49-48, in the First Round.
2017-18 CCC Women's Basketball Pre-season Coaches' Poll
- University of New England 94 (7)
- Roger Williams University 88 (1)
- Endicott College 83 (2)
- Western New England University 72
- Salve Regina University 56
- Eastern Nazarene College 48
- Gordon College 37
- Curry College 36
- Nichols College 24
- Wentworth Institute of Technology 12
Hughes returns the league's Rookie of the Year in second-year guard Torie Scorpio (Cranston, R.I.) who started all 26 games as a freshman and led the Seahawks in points per game (12.5) while ranking second in minutes per game (36.3). Seniors Mary Eden (South Kingstown, R.I.) and Ally Esielionis (Shirley, Mass.) will be making an impact as fourth-year players. "(Eden) has matured as a reliable and dynamic playmaker, always ready to take a charge," says Hughes. "(Esielionis) is long and strong, and unafraid to bang in the post while also capable of ball handling."
The 5-foot, 5-inch Eden led the Seahawks in rebounding as a junior (169; 6.8 rpg).
The two seniors will serve as captains along with a pair of juniors – Kerri Beland (Attleboro, Mass.) and Liv Pierce (Tyngsboro, Mass.). Beland led the Seahawks in minutes per game (36.4) while ranking second in points per game (12.3). "(Pierce) brings so much energy to our team," remarks Hughes.
Follow more from the Commonwealth Coast Conference at http://cccathletics.com/sports/wbkb/2017-18/releases/201718WBBPoll
Salve Regina University
Salve Regina athletics sponsors 20 NCAA Division III varsity sports for men and women. The Seahawks compete in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC - baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, field hockey, football, men's ice hockey, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis, women's track and field, women's volleyball), New England Hockey Conference (NEHC - women's ice hockey), New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association (NEISA - sailing). Beginning in 2017-18, Salve Regina will also sponsor equestrian as a varsity sport, and adds junior varsity programs for baseball and men's lacrosse.