POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - The Marist women's basketball team garnered national attention Tuesday when it received one vote in the USA Today Coaches' Preseason Poll. While the Red Foxes were essentially ranked 45th in the country, four of their opponents this season were ranked in the top 25.
Marist's highest ranked opponent is the University of Connecticut, who sit at #2 in the poll, behind only the defending national champions Baylor. Earlier this month, Connecticut was picked to finish first in the powerful BIG EAST Conference. The Red Foxes and Huskies will meet Friday, Nov. 23 at the Paradise Jam tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands. UConn is coached by Geno Auriemma, who has the highest winning percentage amongst active Division I coaches at .862 (804-129). Marist Head Coach Brian Giorgis is currently fourth on the list with a .775 percentage (251-73).
The day before their game with UConn, the Red Foxes will face Purdue in a Thanksgiving Day matchup. The Boilermakers, who earlier this week were picked to finish third in the Big 10 this season, were ranked 21st in the preseason poll after reaching a ranking as high as 12th last year.
The weekend after getting back from the Virgin Islands, Marist will hit the road again for a Dec. 2 contest at Oklahoma, who were given the #14 ranking in the preseason poll. The Sooners finished second in the Big 12 last season behind national champion Baylor with a 21-13 overall record, and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament as a sixth seed.
Kentucky closes out the Red Foxes non-conference schedule on Dec. 30 as Marist travels to Lexington. The preseason poll has the Wildcats sitting at #7. The 2012 Southeastern Conference (SEC) regular season champions were picked by the media to win the conference title this year as the Wildcats return SEC Player of the Year A'dia Mathies as well as SEC Freshman of the Year Bria Goss. Last season, the Red Foxes won their first ever games against SEC opponents when they beat Auburn in the regular season and Georgia (#11 in the preseason poll) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Other opponents on the Red Foxes' non-conference schedule did not receive recognition in the national polls, but garnered distinction from their respective conferences. Marist's third opponent of the season, Princeton, was picked to repeat as Ivy League champion as the Tigers return the conference's Player of the Year in Niveen Rasheed. The Red Foxes' three opponents out of the America East were voted to finish second (Boston University), third (Hartford) and fourth (Vermont). Hofstra, who comes to McCann Arena on Nov. 28, was picked to finished third in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).
The Red Foxes will open their season versus Vermont on Friday, Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. in McCann Arena. The contest will be aired on ESPN3. The MAAC Preseason Awards Shows will also be hosted that day from McCann Arena. The Coaches' Preseason Poll will be announced along with the Preseason Player of the Year, and the Red Foxes will raise their MAAC Championship banner in a pregame ceremony.
Visit GoRedFoxes.com to purchase season tickets for the 2012-13 basketball season. The Marist Ticket Office can be reached at (845) 575-3553.