BIG EAST Conference preview: Marquette the team to beat

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MILWAUKEE, WI – MARCH 07: Marquette Golden Eagles guard Allazia Blockton (11) looks inside during the Big East Women’s Championship Game between the DePaul Blue Demons and the Marquette Golden Eagles on March 7, 2017 at the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee, WI. (Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The BIG EAST enters its fifth season since realignment in its strongest position yet. Reigning BIG EAST champions Marquette were named the top team in the preseason poll, as well as the USA Today Week 1 Coaches Poll. Four-time conference champions DePaul is right on their heels.

Here is a what to know about the BIG EAST, as well as each individual team.

BIG EAST 101

For more seasoned women’s basketball fans, the BIG EAST is synonymous with teams like Rutgers, Notre Dame and of course, UConn. However, conference restructuring (closely associated with college football over college basketball) have depleted the conference of its more popular teams. Still, there are some stalwarts in the mix.

The BIG EAST conference dates back to 1983. In the inaugural season, St. John’s 27-6 in the conference (second place) and took home the first BIG EAST conference title. Providence, Villanova, Seton Hall and Georgetown are the other four founding members still in the BIG EAST Conference.

Of the five original teams with at least 100 regular season games, Villanova has the best all-time regular season record 313-255 (.551).  DePaul has the best record of all active BIG EAST member programs at 139-61 (.695). The Blue Demons trail Connecticut (406-89) and Notre Dame (232-64) for best all-time BIG EAST regular season record.

Val Ackerman, founding president of the WNBA, enters her fifth season at the helm of the BIG EAST.

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