Women's Hoops Report

The women's basketball members of the Big East conference, as befitting its status as the best in the country, is off to a strong start.

Connecticut Wins Preseason WNIT for Third Time in Three Tries

Connecticut won its third Preseason WNIT title in as many tries with an 82-62 win over No. 25/22 Oklahoma on Nov. 20. The Huskies also won the title in 1997 and 2001. Connecticut cruised to the tournament title with wins over Marist, Indiana State and Boston College before facing the Sooners.

For the fourth time in the last five years, a team from the Big East has been represented in the Preseason WNIT title game. Connecticut captured the title in 2001, and Rutgers fell to Texas Tech in the final game in 2002. Last season, Notre Dame took the title with wins over Illinois State, Nebraska, No. 6 Duke and No. 10 Ohio State.

Big East Off to a Strong Start

After one week of play, the BIG EAST is a combined 32-5 (.865) against non-league opponents. Thirteen of the 16 teams won their season opening games and 12 teams remain undefeated, as Rutgers is the only school to have not opened its regular season. The Big East is 3-0 against the Big Ten, Mid-American and the MAAC; is 2-0 against American East; 1-0 facing the ACC and 4-1 against the Northeast Conference.

Connecticut holds the best record as the Huskies have already played four games, and had three under their belts before anyone in the league opened its seasons. Three teams hosted a season-opening tournament - DePaul (2-0), USF (2-0) and Seton Hall (1-1). Pittsburgh won the Vermont Tournament with wins over William and Mary and Vermont, while West Virginia went 1-1 at the UCF Tournament, falling to UT-San Antonio and then defeating Central Florida.

Big East Coaches Hit Milestones in Their Careers

Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw reached a personal milestone with ND's 55-45 win over Michigan on Nov. 18, becoming the 27th NCAA Division I head coach to record 500 career victories. McGraw also became just the 10th NCAA Division I head coach to reach that mark before turning 50. In addition, she is the third Big East coach in as many years to hit the milestone (Geno Auriemma in 2002-03, Harry Perretta in 2004-05) and the fourth active conference coach with at least 500 wins (also C. Vivian Stringer).

In his first game as part of the Big East Conference, DePaul head coach Doug Bruno reached his 350th win as a Blue Demon. In 20 seasons, he holds a record of 350-210.

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