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Coaches Favor Connecticut for Title

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Defending national champion Connecticut was the overwhelming choice of the league's coaches to win the Big East Conference women's basketball title.

The Huskies received 13 first-place votes and 169 points in the balloting in which the coaches could not vote for their own teams. The results were announced Thursday.

Rutgers, which made the Final Four last season, finished second with 152 points and got the other first-place vote.

Connecticut also swept the preseason awards, with senior guard Shea Ralph winning the player of the year award and freshman guard Diana Taurasi capturing rookie of the year.

Ralph averaged 12.4 points, 5 assists and 2.6 steals last season and was chosen as the conference's player of the year.

Connecticut's senior forward Svetlana Abrosimova and junior guard Sue Bird were also named to the league's preseason first-team along with Ralph. The trio combined last season to lead UConn to its ninth conference title.

Rutgers point guard Tasha Pointer and Notre Dame center Ruth Riley were the others selected to the preseason first team.
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