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Gazette staff's Division I hoops
by Gazette staff

Division I hoops

A Daily Gazette sports blog
Our staff covers Siena and UAlbany

UAlbany picked third, first

It was no surprise when today's America East Conference preseason coaches' poll picked the University at Albany men's team to finish third and the women's team to finish first.

The UA men got little respect last year before they began clicking. They couldn't seem to defeat the upper echelon teams in the league until the conference tournament, and then they won when they had to, eventually claiming their third conference championship and bid to the NCAA tournament.

Without Mike Black and Jacob Iati, the men will have to find some scoring punch, but it shouldn't be a major problem for head coach Will Brown.

The UA women are a different story. They are trying for their third consecutive America East championship, and it won't be easy. How do you replace two of your all-time best players? Ebone Henry was not only the Player of the Year but also a three-time Defensive Player of the Year who finished her career as the program's all-time leading scorer. Julie Forster closed out her career as the all-time best rebounder, while Lindsay Lawrie was one of the better three-point shooters in team history.

But the UAlbany women do have two preseason all-conference picks back in 6-foot-8 Megan Craig and rookie of the year Shereesha Richards back, along with point guard Sarah Royals. The Great Danes will have to work several other players into the mix and exploit their frontcourt strength to be successful.

Don't count against head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson working her magic again.

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