PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Keene State College women's basketball team was picked to finish fifth in a preseason poll of the Little East Conference coaches released Thursday by the league office.

The Owls, who won four of their final six games a season ago and reached the conference tournament title game after upsetting the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth on the road in the semifinals, garnered 33 points, three behind fourth-place University of Southern Maine (36).

Rhode Island College was picked to win the conference, getting five of nine first-place votes and 60 points overall. The Anchorwomen won all 11 games they played last year, including pulling away to a 50-38 win over the Owls in the LEC championship at the Murray Center. After not participating last year, Eastern Connecticut State University received three first place votes and 55 points, slated for second, and UMass-Dartmouth third with 52 points and the final first place vote.

Western Connecticut State University (31 points) came in sixth, two points behind KSC, while the University of Massachusetts-Boston (25), Castleton University (24), and Plymouth State University (8) rounded out the poll in the seven through nine spots.

Keene State returns 2021 First Team All-Conference selection Hailey Derosia, who averaged 11.5 points on 44 percent shooting (52 percent from three) a year ago, and LEC Rookie of the Year Rylee Burgess, who finished with 6.5 points per game and connected on 53 percent from the floor.

Michelle LaBonte (5.9 ppg), Jenny Freedman, Jackie Alibrandi, and Brianna Metellus also all return for the Owls.

KSC opens their season at home against New England College on Friday, Nov. 5 at 6:30 p.m.