This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.
The women’s basketball team was picked to finish fifth in the Atlantic 10 Tuesday, the team’s highest pre-season ranking in five years.
The prediction by the conference’s head coaches comes a year after the team took the A-10 by surprise by finishing tied for seventh and making it to conference quarterfinals after it was picked to finish 11th that preseason.
It is the team’s highest ranking since 2008, when they were selected to finish second in the conference and ultimately made a trip to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.
Second-year head coach Jonathan Tsipis’ team received 115 total points in the conference vote, that was made up of the conference’s 13 head coaches. Dayton, who won the A-10 regular season title last year, is the preseason favorite to win, with 12 first-place votes and 168 points. A-10 tournament champion Saint Joseph’s was picked second with 146 points and the one remaining first-place vote.
Duquesne and Fordham were the last teams to finish ahead of GW.
In Tsipis’ inaugural season, the Colonials finished with a 7-7 conference record, their most wins in conference play since 2009. They then grabbed their first conference tournament since 2008, defeating Richmond in the first round.
GW picked up individual honors Tuesday as well, with graduate student Danni Jackson named to the Preseason All-Conference Third Team and junior Chakecia Miller named to the All-Defensive Team.
Jackson and Miller are two of three starters to return from last year’s starting five.
GW’s starting point guard, Jackson returns for her fifth year after leading the team in scoring the past three seasons, including 10.1 points per game last year. Jackson ranked fifth in the A-10 with 4.5 assists per game last year and looks to dish her way up the Colonials record book. She is currently 12th all-tie at GW with 355 career assists after 136 dimes last year. If she matched that total Jackson would move into fourth place on the all-time list.
Miller’s defensive prowess was recognized as she became just one of three players in Division I to record 10 steals in a game in back-to-back years. With 2.6 steals per game, she ranked third in the A-10 and 61st in the nation. At 159 career steals, she is poised to break into the record book for the Colonials, needing 45 to find her way into top 15. At Miller’s pace through her first two seasons, she is likely to finish near the top of the list with 1980 alumnus Laurie Cann leading the records with 323 career steals.
The Colonials start their season with an exhibition Sunday, Nov. 3 at home against Young Harris College. They then kick off the regular season Saturday, Nov. 9 against Jackson State at home.