NEW YORK — The Notre Dame women’s basketball team has been selected to finish fourth in the BIG EAST Conference in 2010-11, according to a preseason vote of the league’s 16 head coaches. The Fighting Irish picked up 177 points in the balloting, placing behind only two-time defending national champion Connecticut, which was a unanimous choice to win the conference title with 225 points, West Virginia (207 points, one first-place vote) and Georgetown (186 points) — St. John’s rounded out the top five with 173 points.
Notre Dame is coming off a 29-6 season that saw them rise to No. 3 in the national polls (they finished seventh in the year-end Associated Press poll and 11th in the final ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll) and advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the eighth time in the past 14 years.
“It says a lot about our program and the players in our program to be voted fourth in the BIG EAST preseason poll,” Fighting Irish head coach Muffet McGraw said. “This conference is so strong and balanced that you can probably throw the top 10 teams in the BIG EAST in a hat and draw them out in any order — that’s how good this league will be this year. We’re looking forward to getting back in the gym and continuing our preseason practice next week and tipping off the season on Nov. 3.”