Notre Dame Named ACC Women’s Basketball Preseason Favorite


Blue Ribbon Panel and Head Coaches pick Irish to repeat as champion, Loyd as Player of Year

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Defending ACC champion Notre Dame has been named as 2014-15 Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Basketball preseason favorite in separate polls of the league’s Blue Ribbon Panel and its 15 head coaches.

The Fighting Irish, who welcome back two starters and 10 monogram recipients from last year's 37-1 team that reached NCAA title game, received 38 votes from Blue Ribbon panel voters to emerge as the clear-cut favorite. Duke received one first-place vote and placed second in the balloting, followed by ACC newcomer Louisville (two first-place votes) and North Carolina.

Florida State placed fifth in the Blue Ribbon voting, while Syracuse was sixth, Georgia Tech seventh, Miami eighth and NC State ninth. Virginia (10th), Wake Forest (11th), Virginia Tech (12th), Boston College (13th), Clemson (14th) and Pitt (15th) rounded out the voting.

Notre Dame received 14 first-place votes in the ACC coaches’ balloting, while Duke received one. The top eight teams in the coaches’ preseason poll matched those of the Blue Ribbon panel. The ACC coaches voted Virginia ninth, followed by NC State (10th), Wake Forest (11th), Virginia Tech (12th), Clemson (13th), Pitt (14th) and Boston College (15th)

Junior guard Jewell Loyd of Notre Dame was named the 2014-15 ACC Preseason Player of the Year in both the Blue Ribbon Panel and the coaches’ votes.  A Wade Trophy and Wooden Award finalist as a sophomore and the MVP of last season’s ACC Tournament, Loyd averaged team-high 18.6 points, plus 6.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and team-high 1.6 steals per game. The Lincolnwood, Ill., native scored in double figures in every game (including 13 games of 20 points or more) and earned spots on the Associated Press, USBWA, WBCA, espnW and Full Court Press All-America teams.

Loyd is joined on the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon Panel Preseason All-ACC Team by Duke’s Elizabeth Williams, Georgia Tech’s Kaela Davis, Louisville’s Sarah Hammond, North Carolina’s Allisha Gray, Stephanie Mavunga and Xylina McDaniel, Notre Dame’s Lindsay Allen, Syracuse’s Brittney Sykes and Wake Forest’s Dearica Hamby.

Loyd, Williams, Davis, Hammond, Gray, Mavunga, Allen, Sykes and Hamby were also named to the Coaches’ Preseason All-ACC team, along with Clemson’s Nikki Dixon.

The Blue Ribbon Panel’s Newcomer Watch List features the Duke tandem of Sierra Calhoun and Rebecca Greenwell, Florida State’s Shakayla Thomas, Louisville’s Mariya Moore and Notre Dame’s Brianna Turner.

Calhoun, Greenwell, Thomas and Turner were also named to the ACC coaches’ Newcomer Watch List, along with Louisville’s Myisha Hines-Allen.

Blue Ribbon Panel Preseason Poll 
1. Notre Dame (835 points, 38 first place votes)
2. Duke (733, 1 first place vote)
3. Louisville (724, 2 first place votes)
4. North Carolina (707)
5. Florida State (545)
6. Syracuse (536)
7. Georgia Tech (508)
8. Miami (421)
9. NC State (407)
10. Virginia (334)
11. Wake Forest (295)
12. Virginia Tech (184)
13. Boston College (178)
14. Clemson (169)
15. Pittsburgh (144)

Blue Ribbon Panel Preseason All-ACC Team
Elizabeth Williams, Sr., C/F, Duke
Kaela Davis, So., G, Georgia Tech
Sara Hammond, Sr., F, Louisville
Allisha Gray, So., G, North Carolina
Stephanie Mavunga, So, F, North Carolina
Xylina McDaniel, Jr., F, North Carolina
Lindsay Allen, So., G, Notre Dame
Jewell Loyd, Jr., G, Notre Dame
Brittney Sykes, Jr., G, Syracuse
Dearica Hamby, Sr., F, Wake Forest

Blue Ribbon Panel Preseason Player of the Year
Jewell Loyd, Jr., G, Notre Dame

Blue Ribbon Panel Newcomer Watch List 
Sierra Calhoun, Fr., G/F, Duke
Rebecca Greenwell, R-Fr., G, Duke
Shakayla Thomas, Fr., F, Florida State
Mariya Moore, Fr., G, Louisville
Brianna Turner, Fr., G, Notre Dame

ACC Head Coaches Preseason Poll
1. Notre Dame (223 points, 14 first place votes)
2. Duke (196, 1 first place vote)
3. Louisville (194)
4. North Carolina (193)
5. Florida State (152)
6. Syracuse (149)
7. Georgia Tech (136)
8. Miami (117)
9. Virginia (98)
10. NC State (87)
11. Wake Forest (82)
12. Virginia Tech (54)
13. Clemson (44)
14. Pittsburgh (43) 
15. Boston College (32) 

Coaches Preseason All-ACC Team 
Nikki Dixon, Sr., G, Clemson 
Elizabeth Williams, Sr., C/F, Duke
Kaela Davis, So., G, Georgia Tech
Sara Hammond, Sr., F, Louisville
Allisha Gray, So., G, North Carolina
Stephanie Mavunga, So, F, North Carolina
Lindsay Allen, So., G, Notre Dame
Jewell Loyd, Jr., G, Notre Dame
Brittney Sykes, G, Syracuse
Dearica Hamby, Sr., F, Wake Forest

Coaches Preseason Player of the Year
Jewell Loyd, Jr., G, Notre Dame

Coaches Newcomer Watch List
Sierra Calhoun, Fr., G/F, Duke
Rebecca Greenwell, R-Fr., G, Duke
Shakayla Thomas, Fr., F, Florida State
Myisha Hines-Allen, Fr., F, Louisville
Brianna Turner, Fr., G, Notre Dame