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Women's basketball: Let the games begin

St. John's guard Eugeneia McPherson (22) shoots in

St. John's guard Eugeneia McPherson (22) shoots in the first half of an NCAA tournament first-round women's college basketball game against Creighton. (March 18, 2012) (Credit: AP)

Hofstra Pride
2012-2013 record (14-17)
Head Coach: Krista Kilburn-Steveskey (8th season at Hofstra)
Returning starters: 2
Outlook: The post-Shante Evans era at Hofstra begins on Friday night at Robert Morris. But don’t think the cupboard is bare. The Pride returns junior point guard Andreana Thomas, who led the CAA in assists last season and senior forward Anma Onyeuku (9.4 ppg, 5.6 reb). Kilburn-Steveskey also has sophomore guard Asia Jackson and senior forward Annie Payton (8.5 ppg) back. Florida State transfer Jakelle King-Gilchrist, who was recently granted a waiver to play immediately, should help with depth.

St. John’s Red Storm
2012-2013 record (18-13)
Post season: NCAA Tournament (1st round)
Head Coach: Joe Tartamella (2nd year at St. John’s)
Returning starters: 3
Outlook: St. John’s kept it moving in a positive direction as it made the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight year. Coach Joe Tartamella lost some significant firepower, but has an excellent backcourt quartet in senior Eugeneia McPherson, who missed most of last season with a torn ACL, seniors Briana Brown and Keylantra Langley and sophomore Aliyyah Handford. McPherson probably won’t be back until at least December, but the rest of the crew should be able to keep things going. Returning in the paint is junior forward Amber Thompson (6.5 ppg, 6.5 reb). The Red Storm opens up at Sacred Heart Friday at 7.

Stony Brook Seawolves
2012-2013 record (14-16)
Head Coach: Beth O’Boyle (3rd year at Stony Brook)
Returning starters: 2
Outlook: After a 10-game turnaround in 2012-2013, the Seawolves are looking to up their win total even more. Armed with three of their top returning scorers from last season -- Sabre Proctor, Chikilra Goodman, Brittany Snow -- Stony Brook could very well reach that goal. Coach Beth O’Boyle has done a remarkable job turning the program around. She also has experienced guards Teasha Harris (5.5 ppg) and Natalie Myers and several newcomers, including Kori Bayne-Walker, Elizabeth Manner, Jasmine Bailey, Angelica Hauer and Kristie Costantino, to count on. The Seawolves host NJIT Friday at Pritchard Gymnasium.

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