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A check on the local women; St. John's still climbing, Huber decides on Northeastern


STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY- NOVEMBER 15, 2009: St. John's Da'Shena Stevens (3) (22 Points) with the layup over Stony Brook's Dani Klupenger in the first half. St. Johns defeated Stony Brook 89-52. St. Johns University at Stony Brook University women's basketball. Photo Credit: Newsday/Photo by Joseph D. Sullivan

St. John's sophomore Da'Shena Stevens

Although we still havent reached February, it's not too to early talk about NCAA Tournament possibilities.

The St. John's women's squad seems to be on its way. After a 57-55 win over South Florida on Saturday, the Red Storm (16-3, 4-2 BIg East) moved into sixth place in the Conference standings.

No coach likes to talk about the future, especially St. John's coach Kim Barnes Arico. But there's no reason to think the Red Storm can't finish at least 6-4 over its final 10 games and end its regular season with a 10-6 conference mark and a 22-7 overall record. 

Recent history suggests a Big East team that finishes with 20-plus wins and over .500 in the conference is a lock for the NCAA Tournament. A tournament appearance this season would be the Red Storm's second in five years under Barnes Arico.

St. John's push for the tournament continues at Syracuse on Wednesday night. That game will be followed with a home contest against Providence and road games at No.17 Georgetown and Seton Hall.

Games at No.1 Connecticut and home against Notre Dame also loom for the Red Storm.

The Red Storm have been buoyed by a balanced attack. Da'Shena Stevens (15.1 pts, 7.3 reb) leads the way with freshman guard Shenneika Smith (11.5 pts).  

Hofstra struggles against Delle Donne. Hofstra couldn't keep pace with Elena Delle Donne in a 71-65 loss to Delaware on Sunday. Click here for Steve Marcus' story. The 6-5 redshirt freshman dropped 35 on the Pride.

Despite the loss, the Pride (10-9, 3-4 CAA) aren't completely out of things yet. With games against James Madison, Old Dominion and VCU over the next 16 days, the Pride are still in the mix. Of course beating the aforemenionted teams is another story. VCU is tied for first place in the CAA, while ODU and James Madison are third and fourth, respectively.

The Pride also faces George Mason and UNC during that 16-day stretch.

But Hofstra has got to play better to have a chance in those games. Inconsistency on offense has been a bit of an issue for the Pride.

Stony Brook hanging on. Stony Brook, after an awful start, has actually played respectable basketball in conference. The Seawolves (5-14, 3-4 America East) fell to then-No.24 Vermont, 67-45, on Sunday. The Seawolves won two straight in the conference before that loss.  

There's little chance of Stony Brook winning the conference title, but the Seawolves could position themselves for a decent seed once the America East tournament begins. They are tied for fourth in the conference with UMBC and Binghamton.

The Seawolves next three opponents -at UMBC, home against Hartfort, at New Hampshire- represents the make-or-break point for them.

Huber finds destination. Former Rutgers center and St. John's the Baptist star Christine Huber has enrolled at Northeastern University, Newsday's Adam Ronis confirmed.

The 6-4 freshman, who was averaging 0.6 points in just 4.8 minutes per game, left the Scarlet Knights in early January.

Because she enrolled in January, Huber will be eligible to begin playing next January.

Huber is the third player to leave Rutgers since April. Guard Epiphanny Prince skipped her senior year and decided to play in Europe, while 6-1 center Brookyn Pope transferred to Baylor last April.

New York Sports