The USF women, who return four of their top six scorers from last season's NCAA Tournament squad, find themselves in a familiar spot in the American Athletic Conference preseason coaches poll.
Looking up only at UConn.
For the fourth time in the last five years, the Bulls have been picked to finish second in the poll, released Monday in conjunction with the AAC's basketball media day in Philadelphia.
The Bulls men, whose roster remains in flux in Year Two of the Brian Gregory era, were picked to finish last.
Individually, Bulls senior SG Kitija Laksa was named to the women's preseason All-AAC team for the third consecutive year. A unanimous first-team pick, she's joined on the squad by senior Laura Ferreira (second team).
USF's leading scorer (21.1 ppg) and 3-point shooter (126) last season, Laksa is among three returning starters for Coach Jose Fernandez, whose program will be seeking its fifth consecutive NCAA berth.
USF must replace double-double machine Maria Jespersen (18.1 ppg, 9.7 rpg) in the low post, as well as three-year starting PG Laia Flores. Look for 6-foot-2 junior Alyssa Rader to fill Jespersen's at the stretch-four position; heralded freshmen Sydni Harvey and Elisa Pinzan could share time at point guard.
On the men's side, sophomore David Collins (10.0 ppg) is the lone returner among last season's top seven scorers. However, Gregory will lean heavily on two veteran guards — 6-foot-1 redshirt junior Laquincy Rideau and 6-7 redshirt senior T.J. Lang — who sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules.