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Huskies Score a First
in Pre-Season Rankings
November 15, 1999

The pre-season belongs to the UConn basketball teams - and not just because both the men's and women's hoopsters were declared the top teams in the nation when the first Associated Press and CNN/USA Today rankings of the 1999-2000 year were announced November 8 - the first time that double has occurred since rankings began.

No, it also belongs to the Huskies because:

  • Both teams were picked Number 1 in the Big East Conference;

  • Svetlana Abrosimova was selected pre-season player of the year in the Big East Conference;

  • Kennitra Johnson was selected the top rookie among Big East Conference women;

  • Abrosimova and Shea Ralph were named first team All-Big East;

  • Khalid El-Amin is the pre-season pick for Big East player of the year;

  • Ajou Ajou Deng is the pre-season pick for Big East rookie of the year;

  • El-Amin and Kevin Freeman were named to the Naismith pre-season All American teams.


The Huskies were defeated by Iowa 70-68 in their opener at the Coaches vs Cancer Classic. In a consolation round, UConn beat Duke, 71 to 66.

Of course, a lot can happen in a very short time. As the Advance went to press, the men were just taking the floor at Madison Square Garden to play Iowa, a big, tough, though unranked team that almost elbowed their way past the Huskies in last year's NCAA tournament. And, Friday (November 12), they were set to play either Duke, undoubtedly still feeling (UConn) blue about their championship game loss to the Huskies, or Stanford - both top 10 teams in many early season polls.

But, for most of last week at least, the chants of "We're Number 1" could ring out confidently from the top of the cuppola on the Wilbur Cross Building and anywhere else in UConn Territory.

Richard Veilleux