Women’s Basketball Picked to Finish Fifth in America East Preseason Poll

Topé Obajolu is one of four returning starters from last year's squad.
Topé Obajolu is one of four returning starters from last year's squad.

HARTFORD, Conn.—The UMBC women's basketball team was picked to finish fifth in the America East in a vote of the league's nine head coaches, the conference announced Thursday at the 2010 America East Basketball Tip-Off Event at the Connecticut State Capitol building in Hartford, host city of the 2011 America East Men's and Women's Basketball Championship presented by Newman's Own.

The fifth-place billing equals the Retrievers' highest since joining the America East in 2003, as they were also tabbed fifth in 2008-09.

Boston University is the unanimous favorite to win the league, receiving all eight possible first-place votes, as coaches were not permitted to vote for their own team. Perennial powerhouse Hartford garnered the final first-place vote and received 56 points, eight behind the Terriers.Binghamton placed third with 50 points, followed by Stony Brook with 39, just two points ahead of UMBC's 37. Vermont (30), Albany (18),Maine (17) and New Hampshire (13) round out the nine-team poll.

Despite the loss of the program's second all-time leading scorer in Carlee Cassidy, the Retrievers return four starters from last year's squad, including junior guard Michelle Kurowski, who has ranked in the top 10 in the league in scoring in each of her first two seasons at UMBC, as well as junior center Topé Obajolu, who really stepped up in America East action last year, averaging nearly 10 points per game.

The Retrievers' season begins on Friday, Nov. 12, at Delaware, while UMBC's home opener is Tuesday, Nov. 16 against cross-town rival Coppin State.