In this March 2020 photo, Anne Simon of the University of Maine goes up for a shot over Vermont's Emma Utterback (23) and Josie Larkins (5) during their America East quarterfinal game in Bangor. The Black Bears have been chosen as the league's preseason favorite and placed three players on the preseason all-conference team. (Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN)

The season remains in doubt, but one thing is certain. The University of Maine women’s basketball team is the favorite in America East again this season.

For the third year in a row, conference coaches have selected coach Amy Vachon’s Black Bears as the preseason favorite.

UMaine’s experience and talent are reflected in the America East preseason all-conference team, which includes senior guards Blanca Millan and Dor Saar and forward Maeve Carroll.

The Black Bears received six of the 10 first-place votes and finished with 78 points to edge Stony Brook, which was second with four first-place votes and 76 points. The head coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.

Rounding out the top five in the poll were UMass Lowell (62), UAlbany (54) with Binghamton and UMBC, which tied for that spot with 43 points. Rounding out the field are Vermont (36), Hartford (24), New Hampshire (23) and new league member New Jersey Institute of Technology (11).

UMaine is the first school since Boston University in 2010 to earn three or more selections to the preseason all-conference team. The other nods this season went to Kharis Idom of UMass Lowell and Stony Brook’s India Pagan.

The Black Bears, who return more than 80 percent of their scoring from last season, also welcome back the 2020 America East Rookie of the Year, Anne Simon, along with all-league picks Carroll and Saar. Fanny Wadling also is back after missing last season with an injury and 3-point threat Kelly Fogarty also is back.

UMaine finished 12-4 in league play to earn a spot in the America East title game for the fifth consecutive season.

The Black Bears are tentatively scheduled to open the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 28, when they take on Mississippi State in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.

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Pete Warner

Pete is a Bangor native who graduated from Bangor High School, Class of 1980. He earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He has been a full-time member of the Bangor...