RICHMOND, Va. – St. Bonaventure University junior guard Mariah Ruff earned a spot on the Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference Third Team and the Bonnies women's basketball team was selected 10th in a polling of the league's coaches, conference officials announced at A-10 Media Day on Tuesday.
Ruff lands on the Atlantic 10 All-Conference list for the first time. She is the only returning Bonnies player to start all 32 games during last season's run to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The former Miss New York Basketball posted 10.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists a season ago, ranking sixth among all Atlantic 10 players in assist-to-turnover ratio. Ruff was at her best in A-10 play, averaging 11.8 points per game in conference action while shooting over 44 percent from the floor. The Oneonta, N.Y. native was selected to the preseason Big 4 First Team last month as well.
Saint Louis picked up nine first-place votes and is the favorite to win the conference with Dayton and Duquesne tied for second, George Washington fourth and VCU fifth. Fordham is sixth, ahead of Richmond, Saint Joseph's, Rhode Island and St. Bonaventure. George Mason, La Salle, Davidson and UMass complete the preseason rankings.
Last year's Bonnies team won 24 games and went 12-4 in Atlantic 10 play to earn the program's second-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament. In the NCAA Tournament, Bona knocked off Oklahoma State in the first round before falling to eventual Final Four participant Oregon State.
This year's team will have a very different look – both on the floor and on the sidelines. New head coach Jesse Fleming returns to his alma mater to lead Bona after the departure of Jim Crowley, who left following last season after leading the Bonnies for the past 16 seasons. An assistant and later Associate Head Coach under Crowley from 2005-11, Fleming most recently was Associate Head Coach at Bowling Green and was on the BG staff from 2012 until his hiring at Bona this past May. He also served on the staff of Stony Brook after helping build Bona into one of the Atlantic 10's frontrunners during the last decade.
Six players return from last year's team – along with Ruff, also back is graduate student Gabby Richmond, who played in every game last year while averaging 5.3 points and 4.5 rebounds. Senior point guard Imani Outlaw also returns after appearing in 96 games during her first three seasons and junior forward Matea Britvar posted 3.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in an important role a year ago. Sophomores Mckenna Maycock and Keely Fresh are also on the roster.
This year's team boasts six newcomers – freshmen guards Danielle Migliore, Jalisha Terry, Rhianna Council and Sarah Hart along with freshman forward Sarah Young. Junior transfer forward C'quoya Haughton joins the program this season, though Haughton will sit out the year due to NCAA eligibility rules after transferring from Rider.
The freshman class has an impressive list of accomplishments – Migliore was selected New York First Team All-State Class C and Terry earned a nod as the Michigan AP Class C Player of the Year. Hart was ranked No. 10 in the Minnesota recruiting class, Council averaged over 25 points and nine rebounds per game as a senior and Young was a three-time All-Western New York selection.
Bona has boasted one of the A-10's top programs over the past eight years – since the 2008-09 season, the Bonnies have registered an overall record of 171-90 including a 72-46 mark in Atlantic 10 play. During that time only two programs, Dayton and Duquesne, have posted better records.
St. Bonaventure will open the season in exhibition play Saturday, Nov. 5 vs. Edinboro at the Reilly Center at 1:30 p.m. as part of a doubleheader with the men's team playing at 4:00. The regular season begins Friday, Nov. 11 at Niagara.
Season tickets for the 2016-17 season are just $65 for adults and $35 for children 12 and under. For information, call 716-375-2500 or visit GoBonnies.com/Tickets.
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