PHILADELPHIA - It's no surprise that Geno Auriemma and his UConn Huskies are the preseason pick to win the American Athletic Conference.
The Huskies have been the unanimous choice at No. 1 since the conference first came into existence in 2014.
“When you return four starters it's not a real surprise that we're picked there,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “I always say if you take us out of the mix this would be a really competitive league.”
UConn is led by preseason player of the year Napheesa Collier.
“It means a lot to me, it's an honor that the coaches think so highly of me. It's a preseason thing, I haven't earned it yet,” Collier said.
The Huskies also add transfer Azura Stevens to the mix, who sat out last season after coming to UConn from Duke.
South Florida was picked second, receiving Auriemma's first-place vote. Coaches can't vote for their own teams.
“I look to see who has the most players returning and that's who I try and choose first,” Auriemma said.
Temple, Central Florida, SMU and Tulane round out the top half of the preseason poll. Memphis, Cincinnati, Tulsa, Wichita State, Houston and East Carolina round out the preseason picks. Wichita State joins the conference this year.
Collier is joined on the preseason first-team are UConn teammates Gabby Williams and Katie Lou Samuelson. Central Florida's Aliyah Gregory and South Florida's Kitija Laksa also are on the first team.