THE STARTING FIVE

1. For Openers
UAlbany is opening up the season at home for the first time since 2010. The last time the Great Danes kicked off the season at the SEFCU Arena, they defeated Brown, 64-54, and were led by Ebone Henry with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Coach Abe has not lost a season opener in her two seasons at the helm of the UAlbany program.

2. Dropping the Banner

Prior to the start of the opener against Fordham, the Great Danes will drop their 2011-12 America East Conference Championship banner. UAlbany, which was picked to repeat as champions this season, brought home the league title for the first time in program history.

3. Fresh Faces

The Great Danes welcome a group of four freshmen and one transfer to the 2012-13 squad. Tammy Phillip, a junior guard, joins the program from Central Arizona College. Coach Abe and her staff also brought in two players from Massachusetts - guard Erin Coughlin and center Taylor McVey - along with Virgnia native Keyontae Williams and Shereesha Richards, who comes to Albany from Jamaica, by way of Oceanview, N.J.

4. Great Dane Captains

UAlbany has four captains this season - seniors Ebone Henry, Julie Forster, Lindsey Lowrie and Keyana Williams. This group of student-athletes has been crucial in the turnaround of the Great Dane program, and will exhibit great leadership on and off the court.

5. Coaching Staff

Along with the roster, UAlbany has some new faces on the sidelines this season as well. Mary Grimes retains her post, and is joined by Kelly Komara and Tahnee Balerio as assistant coaches. Isoken Uzamere will serve as a graduate assistant, while Brittney Hollingsworth takes over as Director of Basketball Operations.

GREAT DANES PICKED FIRST
    A year after finishing the most successful season in the program’s history, the UAlbany women’s basketball program topped the 2012-13 America East Preseason Poll as determined by the league’s nine head coaches.

2012-13 Preseason Poll
1. UAlbany (5 first-place votes), 61 points
2. Boston University (2), 56
3. Hartford (2), 54
T4. New Hampshire, 37
T4. Vermont, 37
6. UMBC, 34
7. Maine, 17
8. Binghamton, 16
9. Stony Brook, 12

2012-13 PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
*Chantell Alford, Boston University, Sr., G
Ruthanne Doherty, Hartford, Sr., F
Julie Forster, UAlbany, Sr., F
Morgan Frame, New Hampshire, Jr., F
*Ebone Henry, UAlbany, Jr., G/F
Mo Moran, Boston University, Sr., G
*Unanimous selections
   
    Henry, the 2011 & 2012 America East Defensive Player of the Year, and the first UAlbany player named to the America East All-Conference Preseason team, was a unanimous selection to the squad this year. All six of the preseason selections were voted to the America East All-Conference first or second team in 2011-12, with four ranking in the top-five of scoring.

SCOUTING FORDHAM: The Rams were picked 11th in the Atlantic 10 preseason coaches' poll, but the members of the team and coaching staff have higher expectations, led by senior Arielle Collins, graduate student Marah Strickland, and juniors Erin Rooney and Abigail Corning. Collins returns as the Rams' leading scorer from a year ago,  averaging just over 11 points per game, while Corning also averaged in double figures at 10.5 points a game. Both players should benefit with the return of Strickland and Rooney to Fordham's line-up.