PAWTUCKET, R.I.—UMass Boston women's basketball was picked to finish fifth in the Little East Conference Coaches' Preseason Poll with 32 points, the league office announced Friday morning.
#18 UMass Dartmouth took home seven of the eight first-place votes to finish first with 56 total points. Defending LEC Tournament Champion Keene State College earned one first-place vote and 46 total points, while Western Connecticut State University (43) and Eastern Connecticut State University (42) finished in third and fourth.
The University of Southern Maine (25), Plymouth State University (17) and Rhode Island College (16) rounded out the eight-team poll.
Despite returning just three players from last year's team that finished sixth in the LEC, the Beacons were picked to move up in the LEC standings.
Head coach Kristina Baugh will rely heavily on seniors Raven Kelsey (Boston, Mass.) and Katie Mathieu (Coventry, Conn.) and sophomore Alecia Quinones (Stoughton, Mass.) to help assimilate the team's 15 new faces.
Kelsey was named to the LEC Second Team last winter, when she finished in the top-10 in the conference in points (10.9), rebounds (9.5) and steals (2.2) per game. Mathieu is coming off her best season to date as well, as she averaged a career-best 8.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and three assists per game.
UMass Boston will also welcome senior transfer Lydia Vital, who spent her first three years at Keene State. Vital stepped into a starting role as a junior with the Owls and averaged a career-high 10.6 points, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
Outside of Vital, the Beacons' new faces include one redshirt freshman and 13 freshmen. The Beacons freshmen class includes four players standing at six feet or taller and seven players who are 5-10 or taller.
UMass Boston will open their season on Wednesday November 15 at 5:30 p.m., when they host the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. The Beacons will open LEC play on December 2 at 1 p.m. when they travel to take on Keene State College.