MANSFIELD, Mass. – With 48 points, and six first place votes, New England College has been selected to defend their title by the conference coaches in the 2019-2020 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll. The 2018-19 champions will once again be under the direction of veteran head coach Erica Ledy. The Pilgrims return the NECC Player of the Year from a season ago, Rene Hudson (Gallatin, Tenn.), who averaged 18.1 points per game, good for second in the league. Hudson, who was also a D3Hoops.com All-Region selection, will lead a potent offensive attack, which topped the NECC at 69.6 points per game.
Mitchell College collected 40 points to land in the second place spot. Third-year head coach Courtney Burns will look to the 2018-19 NECC Rookie of the Year, Amina Wiley (New Rochelle, N.Y.), to lead the Mariners. In her rookie season, Wiley averaged a double-double with 16.3 points per game and 10.5 rebounds per game, also earning first-team all-conference honors for her efforts. Wiley was an integral part of Mitchell's success in conference play, leading the Mariners to a share of the regular season title a season ago.
Eastern Nazarene College totaled 36 points and one first place vote to secure the third spot. Led by ninth-year head coach Sacha Santimano, Eastern Nazarene returns the 2018-19 NECC Defensive Player of the Year, Shannon Chau (San Francisco, Calif.). Chau was the leader of an Eastern Nazarene defense that only allowed conference opponents to score 54.1 points per game. The Lions also return first team All-NECC selection Kyra Fleharty (Lewiston, Mont.) Fleharty is a threat from behind the arc, leading the NECC in three point field goal percentage at 39.7.
With 31 points, and the remaining first-place vote, Becker College slides into the fourth slot. The Hawks are led by head coach David Bostick, who guided the Hawks to a share of the regular season crown in 2018-19. Becker returns three starters from last year's squad, highlighted by guard Cassidy Harrison (Foxborough, Mass.) who is a three-time all-NECC selection. In her junior season, Harrison was a second team All-NECC performer, averaging 14.6 points per game.
Dean College has taken the fifth spot with 25 points. Dean will be under the leadership of second-year head coach Alycia Gervais. Gervais will lead a young squad, including sophomore Makayla Rudder (Springfield, Mass.), who was a first team All-NECC selection in her rookie season. Rudder was third in the league in scoring last year at 18.1 points per game.
Elms College comes in right behind Dean with 23 points. Seasoned head coach Michelle Proulx will once again be on the sidelines for the Blazers, as Elms returns defensive force Angelica Peguero-Flores (Springfield, Mass.), who led the league with 2.1 blocks per game in 2018-19.
Lesley University and Bay Path University round out the 2019-20 Preseason Coaches Poll with 14 and seven points, respectively.
2019-20 Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
- New England College- 48 (6)
- Mitchell College- 40
- Eastern Nazarene College- 36 (1)
- Becker College- 31 (1)
- Dean College- 25
- Elms College- 23
- Lesley University- 14
- Bay Path University- 7
ABOUT THE NECC
The NECC began competition in the 2008-09 academic year and current member institutions compete across 15 sports. The NECC membership focuses on providing athletic competition among institutions that share similar academic aspirations and are committed to the importance of the total educational experience for students engaged in sports. Current members include Bay Path University, Becker College, Dean College, Eastern Nazarene College, Elms College, Lesley University, Mitchell College and New England College.