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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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South Florida Selected as 2022-23 American Women's Basketball Favorite in Preseason Coaches Poll

POSTED: October 12, 2022 -- 8:53 a.m. CT

South Florida has been tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the 2022-23 American Athletic Conference women's basketball title in voting done by the league's head coaches, the conference announced Wednesday, Oct. 12.

The Bulls were selected as the conference favorite for a third consecutive season, earning nine first-place votes and 99 total points. Houston earned the other two first-place votes and 89 total points to be picked second. SMU is third with 73 total points, followed by Tulsa (66) in fourth. Tulane and Memphis round out the top five, tying for fifth with 56 points.

Temple was seventh with 43 points, followed by defending American Athletic Conference Champions UCF (38), Cincinnati (34), Wichita State (32) and East Carolina (19).

South Florida senior guard Elena Tsineke was tabbed the Preseason Player of the Year. Tsineke, a 2021-22 First Team All-Conference selection, ranked third in The American in scoring with 14.3 points per game while shooting 38.7 percent from the field.

Joining Tsineke on the preseason all-conference first team are Houston junior guard Laila Blair (13.3 points, 2.4 steals per game in 2021-22) and SMU senior forward Savannah Wilkinson (13.8 points, 9.4 rebounds per game with a conference-high 14 double-doubles in 2021-22), both of whom were unanimous selections. South Florida senior forward Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu (10.3 points, 7.1 rebounds per game in 2021-22) and Tulsa sophomore forward Temira Poindexter (12.3 points, 4.6 rebounds per game) round out the first-team selections.

Players named to the preseason all-conference second team were Cincinnati junior guard Jillian Hayes (11.5 points, 6.8 rebounds per game in 2021-22), Memphis fifth-year guard Jamirah Shutes (11.6 points, 4.3 rebounds per game in 2021-22), Tulane graduate guard Dynah Jones (13.2 points, 1.3 steals per game in 2021-22), and Tulsa senior guards Maddie Bittle (10.9 points, 4.5 rebounds per game in 2021-22) and Maya Mayberry (12.2 points, 2.3 rebounds per game in 2021-22).

UCF (26-4), South Florida (24-9) and Tulane (21-10) each reached the 20-win threshold a season ago, while Houston was just behind at 18-16. The Knights earned the league's automatic NCAA Tournament bid in the 2022 Air Force Reserve American Athletic Conference Championship game with a 53-45 win over the Bulls, who earned an at-large selection to the NCAA Tournament. Four American squads were selected for the WNIT – Tulane, SMU, Houston and Tulsa.

All 11 league teams are scheduled to compete for the 2023 American Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Championship at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. The tournament is scheduled for March 6-9 on the ESPN Networks.

2022-23 American Athletic Conference Preseason Women's Basketball Poll

Rank
Team (First-place votes)
Points
1. South Florida (9) 99
2. Houston (2) 89
3. SMU 73
4. Tulsa 66
5. Tulane 56
5. Memphis 56
7. Temple 43
8. UCF 38
9. Cincinnati 34
10. Wichita State 32
11. East Carolina 19

Preseason Player of the Year -- Elena Tsineke, Sr., G, South Florida

Preseason All-Conference First Team

Laila Blair, Jr., G, Houston*

Elena Tsineke, Sr., G, South Florida

Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu, Sr., F, South Florida

Savannah Wilkinson, Sr., F, SMU*

Temira Poindexter, So., F, Tulsa

Preseason All-Conference Second Team

Jillian Hayes, Jr, G, Cincinnati

Jamirah Shutes, 5th, G, Memphis

Dynah Jones, Gr., G, Tulane

Maddie Bittle, Sr., G, Tulsa

Maya Mayberry, Sr., G, Tulsa

*denotes unanimous selection


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