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Local men's and women's tournament previews


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 Da'Shena Stevens was a First-Team  All-Big East selection

America East Tournament  - at the University of Hartford

No.1 Stony Brook (21-8, 13-3) vs. No.8 Albany (7-24, 2-14)

Noon / Saturday.

On Stony Brook: It's been a banner year for the Seawolves. They set a school record in wins as a Division I program and won the conference regular season title for the first time. Coach Steve Pikiell has gotten a lot of mileage out of his stars. Muhammad El-Amin (16.8 ppg), Bryan Dougher (13.6 ppg, 42.3 3pt-pct) and Chris Martin (10.5 ppg) lead a very potent offense. Tommy Brenton (9.6 reb) and Dallis Joyner (8.2 ppg, 6.5 reb) have also contributed. Stony Brook won 10 of its last 11 games of the regular season. 

It won't be easy against Albany. The Great Danes' bad record nothwithstandig, they lost by just two, 68-66, to the Seawolves the last time they played on February 19. If Stony Brook can hold on, they advance to the semifinal on Sunday to face the Boston University-Hartford winner. Albany is led by Tim Ambrose (12.6 ppg) and Queens product Will Harris (12.6 ppg).

CAA Tournament - at Richmond, Va

No.7 Hofstra (18-13, 10-8) vs. No.10 Georgia State (12-19, 5-13)

6:00 p.m. / Friday

On Hofstra: The Pride's recent surge has given a lot of fans hope that this could be the year. Sounds crazy, right? Hofstra has won six in a row and nine of its last 10 games. Not convinced? Northeastern and Drexel were among those nine wins. But for Hofstra to shock the world, it must get scoring from someone other than Charles Jenkins (20.4 ppg). The junior guard from Queens is the only Pride player in double figures in scoring. But that may not be such a bad thing. Hofstra has four other players who are averaging at least eight points per game.

 Much of the help is likely going to come from freshmen Chaz Williams (9.8 ppg) and Halil Kanacevic (8.6 ppg, 7.6 reb). A wild card for the Pride could be center Greg Washington. The 6-10 junior is averaging almost three blocks per game. He had eight blocks in a win over Rider and four blocks in a win against Georgia State. More importantly, he has a nice touch from 15 feet. Look for junior guard Nathaniel Lester (8.3 ppg) to also make his presence felt. 

As for Georgia State, Hofstra knocked them off, 87-74, in its regular season finale. Don't expect much resistance on Friday night.  The winner will take on No.2 Northeastern on Saturday at 6 p.m. 


Big East Tournament - at Hartford, Mass

No.4 St. John's (24-5, 12-4) vs. TBA

Noon / Sunday

On St. Johns: By virture of grabbing the fourth seed, the Red Storm get a double bye into the quarterfinals and will face one of three teams (No.12 Pitt, No.13 Louisville, No.5 Notre Dame). The Red Storm has faced and defeated all three, so confidence and scouting shouldn't be a problem. Sophomore Da' Shena Stevens (14.4 ppg), an All-Big East first-team selection has been a rock all season. She's gotten a ton of help, too. Kim Barnes Arico's freshmen backcourt combination fo Shenneika Smith (12.6 ppg) and Nadirah McKenith (7.2. ppg, 4.7 reb, 4.9 asst) has emerged as one of the conference's best.

Senior forwards Joy McCorvey (7.3 ppg, 7.6 reb) and Kelly McManmon have also played a major role. Junior center Coco Hart (6.6 ppg, 5.1 reb) has given valuable bench minutes. St. John's is already a lock for the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, a semifinal date with UConn is in the cards if they get by their quarterfinal matchup.

America East Tournament - at Hartford University

No.4 Stony Brook (9-19, 7-9) vs. No.5 Binghamton (11-18, 7-9)

8:15 p.m. / Friday

On Stony Brook: The Seawolves overcame a tough start and played well within the conference. Although they dropped three of their final four games, the Seawolves were competitive in each contest. Junior forward Kirsten Jeter (14.2 ppg, 7.4 reb), who ecplipsed the 1,000-point plateau a few weeks ago, has had a big second half. Joia Daniels, Misha Horsey and Crystal Rushin are averaging at least seven points per game, which has given Stony Brook good balance.

But the Seawolves took it on the chin, 74-58, in a loss at Binghamton in early January. But this is a different team, so it shouldn't be out of the realm to expect a different result. The winner will face one of three teams -No.8 Maine, No.9 New Hampshire, No.1 Hartford- in a semifinal on Sunday at 1:30.

Check back on Monday for the St. John's men and Hofstra women's tournament preview.

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