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Penn State chosen top women's team in Big Ten

Associated Press Modified: October 25, 2012 at 4:02 pm •  Published: October 25, 2012

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — Penn State may be favored to rule Big Ten women's basketball again, but coach Coquese Washington prefers to wait and see.

The defending regular season champs return four starters, including a preseason co-player of the year Alex Bentley.

"I don't think about it in terms of our preseason ranking and I never have," said Washington after the Nittany Lions were selected the top team at Big Ten media day on Thursday. "It really doesn't matter where you are in October. What's important is how you get better (through) the season and how you end."

Washington, who carries a 92-67 career record into her sixth season, has plenty of tools to build on last season's success.

Bentley averaged 14.1 points and led the team in assists (156) and steals (98) to help the Lions claim their sixth Big Ten regular season title. They finished 26-7 overall and reached the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2004.

She's joined by the conference's third-leading scorer Maggie Lucas (19.4 points) and No. 2 rebounder Nikki Greene (9.1).

Penn State also welcomes freshman center Candice Agee, a gold-medal winner last summer with Team USA's Under-18 squad and McDonald's High School All-American.

"(Alex) did everything I asked her to do that year in terms of being a better floor general and running the team," Washington said. "(Nikki's) confidence level is really high, probably the highest I've seen since she's been here. That's going to make a big impact for her development on the court."

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