[CONFERENCE USA: Women]Colorado College, which shared the 2012 regular-season Conference USA title, has been selected the preseason favorite to win the 2013 championship by the league's coaches.
The Tigers compiled a 14-4-5 overall record last season under head coach Geoff Bennett. Colorado College returns six starters and 19 veterans from last year's squad, including two-time C-USA Midfielder of the Year Jessie Ayers.
Rice was picked second in the coaches' vote, while North Texas was third.
The Owls shared the 2012 C-USA regular-season title with Colorado College, posting an 8-2-1 mark in league play. Holly Hargreaves was named the 2012 C-USA Freshman of the Year and the only rookie to earn all-conference first team honors. Hargreaves and teammate Lauren Hughes combined for 19 of Rice's 25 goals last season.
North Texas comes off its second straight Sun Belt title in 2012 and earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament with a 16-5-2 overall record. Captain Kelsey Hodges will lead the Mean Green into its first season of competition in C-USA.
Tulsa was selected fourth after coming off a trip to the C-USA championship game in 2012, while newcomer FIU was the fifth-place pick, and the top selection in the East Division.
The Panthers will be joined in the East by Charlotte, East Carolina, Middle Tennessee, Marshall, UAB, Florida Atlantic and Old Dominion. UTEP, Louisiana Tech, UTSA and Southern Miss round out the West Division.
Conference USA Players to Watch:
Amanda Jones Charlotte Jr. MF/F Mahwah, N.J.
Kecia Morway Colorado College Sr. D Lake Villa, Ill.
Lexi Miller East Carolina Jr.-R MF Raleigh, N.C.
Chelsea Leiva FIU Sr. F Royal Palm Beach, Fla.
Claire Emslie Florida Atlantic So. MF Penicuik, Milothian, Scotland
Erica Stewart Louisiana Tech So. MF Columbus, Ind.
Erin Simmons Marshall So. F Gahanna, Ohio
Kate Loye Middle Tennessee So. MF Hamilton, New Zealand
Kelsey Hodges North Texas Sr. D Denton, Texas
Jessie Klamut Old Dominion Jr. MF/F Virginia Beach, Va.
Holly Hargreaves Rice So. F New Hope, Pa.
Danica Roberts Southern Miss Sr. F West Yorkshire, England
Jordan O'Brien Tulsa Sr. MF Garden Grove, Calif.
Johanna Liney UAB Jr. MF Marietta, Ga.
Azia Nicholson UTEP Sr. D Grand Prairie, Texas
Anka Grotle UTSA Sr. D Bremanger, Norway