(HALIFAX, N.S.) – The Cape Breton Capers are the 2016-17 women’s basketball favourites according to the pre-season coaches’ poll released on Wednesday.
This marks the second year for the AUS pre-season coaches’ poll, which is voted on by the league’s eight head coaches, who rank the other seven squads and are not permitted to vote for their own teams.
The Capers received seven first-place votes and 49 points to come in at the top of the poll. Cape Breton, with all-stars Alison Keough and Colleen Keane returning will look to claim their first AUS title since the 2010-11 season.
Saint Mary’s, last year’s pre-season favourite and winners of the past four AUS banners, finished in second with 41 points. The Huskies defeated the Capers in the 2016 AUS final by a score of 63-49 and went on to win a bronze medal at the CIS championship. Rachelle Coward and Laura Langille have finished their university careers, but Saint Mary’s will be led by two-time defensive player of the year Kennisha-Shanice Luberisse along with seniors Angelina Carvery and Jenny Lewis.
The Acadia Axewomen, with second-year head coach Len Harvey, came in third with 38 points. The Axewomen finished the 2015-16 regular season in second place with a 16-4 record and welcome back league MVP Paloma Anderson for another season. Anderson finished second in scoring in the nation last year with an 18.7 points per game average.
The UNB Varsity Reds, hosts of last year’s national championship tournament, ranked fourth with 31 points in this year’s voting, followed by the Memorial Sea-Hawks who picked up 24 points. The Sea-Hawks missed the playoffs last season with a 4-16 record under first-year head coach Mark English.
UPEI finished with 20 points in the poll and will look to improve on their 6-14 record from a year ago. The Dalhousie Tigers came in seventh with 14 points and the StFX X-Women round out this year’s rankings with seven points.
2016-17 AUS Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Cape Breton (7), 49 pts.
2. Saint Mary’s, 41 pts.
3. Acadia (1), 38 pts.
4. UNB, 31 pts.
5. Memorial, 24 pts.
6. UPEI, 20 pts.
7. Dalhousie, 14 pts.
8. StFX, 7 pts.
The 2016-17 regular season gets underway Thursday night in Wolfville. The Axewomen host the four-time defending champion Saint Mary’s Huskies at 6 p.m., followed by all eight teams seeing action this weekend.
This upcoming schedule is as follows:
Thu. Nov. 3 – Saint Mary’s at Acadia, 6 p.m.
Fri. Nov. 4 – Cape Breton at Dalhousie, 6 p.m.
Fri. Nov. 4 – StFX at UPEI, 6 p.m.
Sat. Nov. 5 – Cape Breton at Dalhousie, 2 p.m.
Sat. Nov. 5 – UNB at Memorial, 6 p.m.
Sat. Nov. 5 – StFX at UPEI, 6 p.m.
Sat. Nov. 5 – Acadia at Saint Mary’s, 6 p.m.
Sun. Nov. 6 – UNB at Memorial, 12 p.m.