BROOKLYN, N.Y. (October 27, 2015)—The Sacred Heart women's basketball team was picked fifth in the 2015 Northeast Conference coaches preseason poll, which was announced by the league Tuesday morning as a part of NEC Basketball Social Media Day hosted at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Two-time All-NEC selection Hannah Kimmel was named to the Preseason All-NEC Team, her first preseason honor.
Robert Morris was picked to finish atop the league garnering seven first place votes. The Colonials finished third in 2014-15 after clinching the Championship the year before.
Sacred Heart finished fourth in the NEC in 2014-15 with an 11-7 record against conference foes, and 16-13 overall. The Pioneers lost three-time All-NEC player Gabrielle Washington and Katie Shepard to graduation in 2015, but return three key starters: Kimmel, 2014 NEC All-Rookie selection Adaysha Williams and senior forward Lerae Ettienne. Fans will see five fresh faces on the court in Cleo Palyzou (Athens, Greece), Erin Stork (Commack, N.Y.), Danielle Durjan (Montgomery Village, Md.), Briana Hardee (Waldorf, Md.) and Allison Cannon (Upper Marlboro, Md.).
After being named to the NEC All-Rookie Team in 2014, her first year taking the court after two ACL tears, Kimmel earned a spot on the All-NEC First Team in 2015. Throughout the regular season, she recorded 12 double-doubles, the most by a Pioneer since Callan Taylor's 15 in 2011-12, and led the SHU offense with 16.3 points per game, ranking fifth in league. Cleaning up the boards all year, the Harpursville, N.Y. native became the first Pioneer since 2005 to pull down 20-plus rebounds with a personal-best 23 in Sacred Heart's 101-90 road win at Saint Francis U. 7.04 defensive rebounds per game had her ranked second in the NEC at the end of the regular season and 29th among the NCAA Division I ranks, while her 8.7 rebounds per game ranked third in the league.
The Pioneers begin their 2015-16 campaign at home Sunday, November 15 when they host the Hartford Hawks at 1:00 p.m.
2015-16 NEC Coaches Preseason Poll:
1. Robert Morris (7)
2. Bryant (2)
3. Central Connecticut (1)
4. Fairleigh Dickinson
5. Sacred Heart
7. Mount St. Mary's
8. Saint Francis U
9. St. Francis Brooklyn
10. LIU Brooklyn
2015-16 Preseason All-NEC Team
Hannah Kimmel, SHU, F, 6-0, R-Jr., Harpursville, N.Y./Harpursville
Erika Livermore, FDU, C, 6-1, R-Sr., Nazareth, Pa./Nazareth Area
Jasmine Nwajei, WC, G, 5-8, Jr., Rockaway Park, N.Y./Murry Bergtraum
Breanna Rucker, BRY, G, 5-11, Sr., Cincinnati, Ohio/Princeton
Anna Niki Stamolamprou, RMU, G, 5-9, Jr., Thessaloniki, Greece/Aristotelio College of Thessaloniki