Oct. 25, 2006
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PHILADELPHIA - Dayton women's basketball was picked to finish seventh in the 2006-07 Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Preseason Poll conducted by the conference's coaches and select media, which was released on Wednesday.
The Flyers finished with a 17-12 overall record and an 8-8 mark in conference play last season. UD placed sixth in a 14-team A-10, which sent five teams to the postseason in 2005-06. The season was another step for a program, which has shown growth under the direction of fourth-year head coach Jim Jabir. Dayton has improved from three wins in 2003-04 to 17 last season, which is the second largest improvement of any team in the nation during that time period.
UD looks to continue that trend in 2006-07 with the help of Preseason Second Team selection Jennifer Strong. The redshirt senior was named to the A-10 Second Team at the conclusion of last season after averaging 11.9 points per game and pulling down 4.1 rebounds per contest. She also played a team-high 31.2 minutes per game and was second on the roster with 41 three-point shots made and 54 free throws made.
Dayton will receive stiff competition in the A-10 race from George Washington. GW, the 2005-06 co-regular season champions, under the direction of 18th-year head coach Joe McKeown, received 13 of the 18 first place votes cast by the panel of coaches and media to repeat as league champions. The Colonials return four starters to a team that finished 23-9 in 2005-06, and boast one of the most talented back courts in the league in two-year starting point guard Kimberly Beck (5.53 apg), senior Kenan Cole (8.2 ppg), and junior Sarah-Jo Lawrence (11.6 ppg). Beck earned first-team All-Conference honors last season while Lawrence was named the league's Sixth Player of the Year.
Temple received two first-place votes and placed second in the preseason poll after finishing 24-8 and capturing the Atlantic 10 Championship for the third straight season. The Owls return two starters to the floor, including senior forward Kamesha Hairston, a 2005-06 first-team All-Conference member. Hairston is the top returning scorer for the Owls, having averaged 12.8 points per game last year, while junior center Lady Comfort (7.4 ppg) returns as the team's leading rebounder with 6.2 boards per game.
Xavier (21-9) was the top pick on three ballots and finished third in the poll. The Musketeers return a trio of experienced guards in the back court with seniors Suntana Granderson, Miranda Green (9.4 ppg) and Michele Miller (9.6 ppg) all back for a final season. Granderson was a 2005-06 first-team All-Conference honoree after averaging 15.4 points and 2.3 assists per game. Joining the Musketeers this season will be six freshmen who make up the recruiting class ranked 10th in the country by Scout.com, highlighted by incoming freshman Amber Harris (No. 5 overall).
Saint Joseph's (20-11), which recorded the best turnaround in Division I and earned a berth in the 2006 postseason, was chosen fourth, Charlotte (21-9), which has made four consecutive postseason appearances, was picked fifth, and Richmond (9-18), a team plagued by injuries last season, was chosen sixth. Dayton (17-12) was tabbed seventh, Massachusetts (11-17) was picked eighth, followed by La Salle (11-17), Duquesne (12-16), Rhode Island (8-20), Saint Louis (7-20), St. Bonaventure (9-18) and Fordham (10-18).
In that same poll, the coaches and media selected the Atlantic 10 preseason All-Conference teams. In addition to Beck, Lawrence, Hairston and Granderson, the other first-team selection is senior forward Crista Ricketts from La Salle. Ricketts, a three-time honoree of the A-10 and one of La Salle's most prolific scorers, is the leading returning scorer for La Salle at 13.7 points per game.
The second-team consists of Ayahna Cornish of Saint Joseph's, Duquesne's Loui Hall, Tyler McIlwraith of Saint Louis, Rhode Island's Safi Mojidi and Jennifer Strong of Dayton.
Third-team members include Fordham's Lisa Carrol, Christina Campion of Richmond, Xavier's Miranda Green, and Kate Mills and Pam Rosanio of Massachusetts.
Beck, Hairston, Lawrence, Mojidi and junior forward Carlene Hightower of La Salle make up the five-player All-Defensive team.
The Flyer women will host a pair of exhibition games in preparation for the 2006-07 season. Dayton takes on Central State on Friday, Nov. 3 (7 p.m. ET) and Ohio Legends on Tuesday, Nov. 7 (7 p.m. ET) at UD Arena.
UD begins the 2006-07 season at the Cardinal Classic in at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky. Dayton will take on host Louisville on Friday., Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET. They then take on Winthrop and Memphis the following two days at 5 p.m. ET.
The 2006-07 home opener for the Flyers will take place on Tuesday., Nov 21 at 5:00 p.m. when Dayton plays host to Drexel to begin a women's-men's doubleheader at UD Arena.
For information on tickets, including group rates, please call the UD Arena Ticket Office at (937) 229-4433.