By Sean Greene 1:29pm, October 22, 2013
VIDEO: Tina Martin on the 2013 Blue HensYouth will need to be served quickly for Delaware women's basketball as the Blue Hens were projected fifth out of 9 teams in the Colonial Athletic Association's Preseason Poll.
The Blue Hens, who enter off the strength of back-to-back undefeated CAA seasons but after graduating 6 seniors including Elena Delle Donne, have a roster with just two seniors and one junior.
One of those seniors is guard Akeema Richards, the West Virginia transfer, who recorded 5.5 points per game as a starter a year ago. Martin says she is looking for more vocal leadership from Richards, and also 6-foot-3 frontcourt battler Kelsey Buchanan.
Buchanan had her best game of the season in the opening round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, when she played 31 minutes and scored 10 points against West Virginia.
Sophomore's Alecia Bell and Courtni Green worked into the rotation at times during last season, and both are back and figure to play more significant roles with the additional available minutes due to the graduations.
A player to watch will be 6-for-1 forward Hannah Jardine out of St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, who will be called on to be a rebounding force for the Blue Hens.
James Madison, who returns most of their team from last year, is picked to win the league while their guard Kirby Burkholder was named the CAA's Preseason Player of the Year. She is joined by teammate Precious Hall on the First Team.
Drexel, who won the WNIT after losing to Delaware in the CAA Championship Game, is picked second, followed by Northeastern and Towson.
Richards' 2nd-Team All-CAA Selection was the only honor for any Blue Hen on the Preseason Teams.
Delaware's schedule lacks some of the BCS conference foes from the past two years, but still features Temple and Wake Forest coming to Newark on November 12 and 15, Ivy League power Princeton on the road December 15, and the Big East's St. John's on December 30.
The season opener is November 8 on the road at Rhode Island.
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