Oct. 23, 2008
NEW YORK-- At ESPN Zone in New York on Thursday morning, the BIG EAST Conference revealed the results of the 2008-09 BIG EAST Preseason Coaches' Poll. Villanova received 85 points in the poll and was chosen to finish 10th in the league this season.
Villanova returns nine letterwinners and four of its starters from last season, including the forward tandem of seniors Laura Kurz and Lisa Karcic. Kurz averaged a team-best 14.9 points per game in 2007-08 while Karcic averaged 14.2 points per contest. Kurz also led the Wildcats in field goal percentage (49.5) and three-point percentage (43.8) as well as rebounding (6.4/game). Karcic paced the Wildcats in three-point field goals made (77) and steals (43).
Kurz, who was a second team All-Conference choice last season, received Honorable Mention 2008-09 Preseason All-Big East honors.
The 2008-09 season tips off for Villanova with a home game versus Big Five rival La Salle on November 14 before the Wildcats play their next six games on the road. Included in that stretch is a Thanksgiving tournament in the Virgin Islands, where the Wildcats will play Wisconsin, Baylor and Central Florida.
The BIG EAST coaches chose Connecticut as the preseason favorite for the regular season title. The Huskies received 14 first-place votes and 224 points to finish well ahead of Rutgers and Louisville. The Scarlet Knights and Cardinals each received one first-place vote and Rutgers finished just ahead in second place with 201 points compared with 200 for Louisville. The top five was rounded out by Notre Dame (182) and Pittsburgh (162).
Also finishing ahead of the Wildcats were Syracuse (156), Marquette (147), DePaul (132) and West Virginia (109). Trailing Villanova in the poll were Georgetown (77), USF (76), St. John's (66), Seton Hall (40), Cincinnati (33) and Providence (30).
Connecticut's Maya Moore was named Preseason Player of the Year and April Sykes of Rutgers was the Preseason Freshman of the Year. The Huskies were also represented on the Preseason All-Big East Team by Tina Charles and Renee Montgomery, while the Scarlet Knights placed Epiphanny Prince and Kia Vaughn on the team. The rest of the squad featured Candyce Bingham and Angel McCoughtry (Louisville), Krystal Ellis (Marquette), Shantia Grace (USF), Chandrea Jones (Syracuse) and Shavonte Zellous (Pittsburgh).
Joining Kurz in receiving honorable mention were Deirdre Naughton (DePaul) and Lindsey Schrader (Notre Dame).