BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Niagara women’s basketball team was voted the favorite to win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference this upcoming season, while the team’s star guard, Aaliyah Parker, was voted preseason player of the year in the annual coaches’ poll.

The Purple Eagles finished second in the MAAC last season with a 16-4 conference record and went on to earn a berth in the WNIT after falling to Manhattan in the semifinals of the MAAC tournament.

Niagara brings back 10 players from last season’s roster, which includes Parker and her sister, Angel, the latter of whom was a unanimous preseason All-MAAC first team selection. Aaliyah garnered national attention when she posted the first triple-double in program history during last year’s MAAC tournament.

Both Parker sisters are Western New York natives and played their high school basketball at Cardinal O’Hara.

The Purple Eagles kick off their campaign Nov. 8 against St. Bonaventure at the Gallagher Center.

Here’s the full list of hoops players from WNY programs that have received preseason accolades so far:

MAAC women

  • Aalyiah Parker, F, Niagara – Preseason All-Conference First Team, Player of the Year
  • Angel Parker, G, Niagara – Preseason All-Conference First Team
  • Sisi Eleko, F, Canisius – Preseason All-Conference Third Team

MAAC men

  • Tahj Staveskie, G, Canisius – Preseason All-Conference Second Team
  • Xzavier Long, F, Canisius – Preseason All-Conference Third Team

Atlantic 10 men

  • Daryl Banks III, G, St. Bonaventure – Preseason All-Conference First Team
  • Chad Venning, F, St. Bonaventure – Preseason All-Conference Third Team

Here’s where other basketball programs from around the area placed in their respective preseason polls so far:


  • Canisius men – third, one first-place vote
  • Canisius women – ninth
  • Niagara men – ninth

Atlantic 10

  • St. Bonaventure men – third, one first-place vote

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Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.