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DePaul picked to win Big East women's hoops

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NEW YORK (AP)

A new-look Big East brings hope to all its teams of winning a conference championship.

Gone are Connecticut and Notre Dame, who had dominated the conference giving a chance for basically anyone to have a shot to win. In the past 25 years only three current members of the conference have won the Big East tournament - the last coming when Villanova upset Connecticut in 2003.

''UConn has set the standard for this conference for so many years that now it's up to us to keep the league where it's at,'' said DePaul coach Doug Bruno.

Bruno's Blue Demons were picked first in the preseason coaches' poll, receiving eight of the 10 first place votes.

They have three starters back, including preseason player of the year Brittany Hrynko.

''Being named Big East preseason player of the year means a lot. It's a great honor, but coach Doug Bruno always talks about previews and reviews and I'll have to work hard to actually receive the award in the postseason.''

Conference newcomer Creighton was second, picking up the other two first-place votes and 67 points. The Bluejays went 25-8 last season making it to the second round of the NCAA tournament. They were followed by St. John's, Villanova, Marquette, Georgetown, Butler, Providence, Xavier and Seton Hall.

Butler and Xavier join Creighton as newcomers to the basketball-centric conference.

The makeup of the conference isn't all that's changed as there are three new head coaches - including two that occurred in the past week. Keith Brown resigned from Georgetown after an investigation into unprofessional conduct and inappropriate language as alleged by some of his players. Amy Waugh resigned last Wednesday after two difficult seasons trying to rebuild her alma mater.

Georgetown hasn't named an interim coach yet and the assistants have been running practices.

''It's different, but we're all one family,'' Georgetown senior Andrea White said. ''It's about moving forward and trying to make the best of this season.

While the Hoyas are still searching for a coach, Xavier promoted assistant Brian Neal to be the interim head coach.

''The biggest change is them not thinking I'm just a substitute teacher,'' he said. ''The basketball is the easy part as I've been doing that for awhile. It's the other stuff that's new.''

Tony Bozzella took over at Seton Hall last Spring after Anne Donovan left for the WNBA.

Hrynko was joined on the preseason squad by teammate Jasmine Penny. Other members of the team were Creighton's Marissa Janning and Sarah Nelson; Butler's Daress McClung; Georgetown's White; Marquette's Katherine Plouffe; Providence's Tori Rule; St. John's Aliyyah Handford; Seton Hall's Ka-Deidre Simmons and Villanova's Carolina Coyer.

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Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg

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