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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bulger Earns Spot On Big East Preseason Team

West Virginia junior guard Meg Bulger was named to the Big East’s Preseason All-League team for the second straight season, it was announced at the Big East’s women’s basketball media day on Thursday.

A unanimous selection to the All-Big East First Team in 2004-05, Bulger was named a Kodak All-America Honorable Mention last season, as she helped lead the Mountaineers to the Postseason WNIT Finals and earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team. Bulger was the 2004-05 Big East scoring champion, averaging 18.6 points in 16 league games.

Also in the voting, Rutgers University All-American candidate Cappie Pondexter has been tabbed as the 2005-06 Big East Preseason Player of the Year by a vote of the league's 16 head coaches. Scarlet Knight rookie Kia Vaughn was named the Preseason Freshman of the Year.

Pondexter headlines a 10-person Preseason All-Big East Team, which was established with the expansion of the league to 16 teams. Due to ties in this year's voting, two extra spots were added to the team.

A senior guard, Pondexter led the Scarlet Knights to the program's first Big East regular season title in 2004-05. She averaged 14.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game last season, posting 19 double-digit scoring efforts in 27 contests. Pondexter was second in the Big East in free throw percentage (.791) and was fourth in overall scoring (14.7).

A preseason candidate for the Wade Trophy and Wooden Award, Pondexter is a member of the 2005-06 Preseason All-Big East Team. Leading Rutgers to the finals of the Big East Championship, she was named to the All-Tournament Team for her efforts. Last season, Pondexter was named All-America Honorable Mention by the Associated Press and Kodak.

Vaughn, from Bronx, N.Y., is a center out of Saint Michael's Academy. Named a Parade All-America, Vaughn participated in the 2005 McDonald's and Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-Star games. Vaughn averaged 26 points, 20 rebounds and seven blocked shots during her senior season.

Rutgers sophomore guard Matee Ajavon, also a preseason all-league member, is coming off a successful rookie campaign when she was named the 2005 Big East Freshman of the Year. The 2004-05 All-Big East Second and Freshmen Team member played in all 35 games, averaging 12.4 points and 3.5 assists.

The only unanimous selection to the Preseason All-Big East Team is Connecticut senior Ann Strother. The guard was a 2004-05 All-Big East First Team performer as well as being named to the All-Big East Tournament Team after guiding Connecticut to its 12th conference title. The top returning scorer for the Huskies, Strother averaged 12.9 points per game. She was named a preseason candidate for the Wade Trophy and the Wooden Award.

A member of the Preseason All-Big East Team for the second straight year, Connecticut senior Barbara Turner has been named a preseason contender for the Wade Trophy and the Wooden Award. The forward ranked second on the squad with an average of 11.0 points per game while shooting .523 (126-241) from the field last year. She registered double-figure points in 18 games last season.

Big East newcomer and preseason top 25 pick DePaul placed senior Khara Smith on the preseason team. A two-time All-American and National Player of the Year candidate, the forward led the Blue Demons with 18.6 points and 11.7 rebounds per game last season. Joining Smith on the preseason team are Louisville junior Jazz Covington and USF junior Jessica Dickson, also fresh faces to the league. A center, Covington is a preseason selection for the Wooden Award. She averaged 17.8 points and 8.1 rebounds last season. Dickson, a forward, was a member of the 2004-05 Conference-USA First Team and a Kodak All-America Honorable Mention. She scored 16.7 points a grabbed 14.7 rebounds per game last season.

Notre Dame senior Megan Duffy is the top returning scorer for the Irish, averaging 12.3 points last season. Named to the preseason candidate list for the Wade Trophy and Wooden Award, the guard was named to the 2005-06 Preseason All-Big East Team. Duffy led the league in free throw percentage (.895) and steals per game (2.73) in 2004-05. She was the co-captain of the Gold Medal USA World University Team this past summer.

One of only three sophomores named to the preseason team, Pittsburgh forward Marcedes Walker earned All-Big East Freshmen and Honorable Mention honors a year ago. She started in 26 games in 2004-05, before sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury. She still led the league in rebounds at 9.1 per game, while averaging 13.3 points.

St. John's sophomore Kia Wright is the top returning scorer for the Red Storm, having averaged 14.4 points last season. Named to the 2004-05 All-Big East Second Team, Wright is a member of this year's preseason team. The guard was third in the league in scoring (14.7) and second in steals (2.4).

Villanova senior Liad Suez is a repeat member to the Preseason All-Big East Team. Averaging 12.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, the forward was a 2004-05 All-Big East Second Team selection. Strong from the free-throw line, Suez hit 83.6 percent (56-67) last year.

2005-06 Preseason Player of the Year
Cappie Pondexter, Sr., G, Rutgers

2005-06 Preseason Freshman of the Year
Kia Vaughn, Fr., C, Rutgers

2005-06 Preseason All-Big East Team#
Matee Ajavon, So., G, Rutgers
Meg Bulger, Jr., G, West Virginia
Jazz Covington, Jr., C, Louisville
Jessica Dickson, Jr. F, USF
Megan Duffy, Sr., G, Notre Dame
Cappie Pondexter, Sr., G, Rutgers
Khara Smith, Sr., F, DePaul
Ann Strother, Sr., G, Connecticut*
Barbara Turner, Sr., F, Connecticut
Liad Suez, Sr., F, Villanova
Marcedes Walker, So., F, Pittsburgh
Kia Wright, So., G, St. John's

* - unanimous selection
# - Due to a tie in voting, there will be 12 first team selections

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