St. John's senior center Coco Hart
Two of the three Division I women's programs in our coverage area made the post season last year. St. John's led the way with a second-round NCAA appearance, while Hofstra made the WNIT for the second time in coach Krista Kilburn-Stevekey's tenure. Stony Brook is hoping to make a post season splash for the first time in four years.
St. John’s vs. Marist
Wildcat Classic, Manhattan Kansas
On St. John’s: Still riding high off a 25-7 season that ended with a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the St. John’s women’s team is hoping to get off on the right foot against Marist at the Wildcat Classic, hosted by Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas. The Red Storm, which enters the season with it’s first-ever preseason rank in the AP and ESPN/USA Today poll, has every reason to believe it can sustain its run. All-Big East junior forward Da’Shena Stevens is back with sophomore guards Shenneika Smith and Nadirah McKenith. Three-year starter Sky Lindsay, the “elder stateswoman” of the group and senior center Coco Hart also return. Depth could be a bit of concern for St. John’s, but their talent level could be enough to compensate early on until a few of the newcomers are ready to step into their roles.
On Marist: The Red Foxes have become a model of consistency the last few years. Although the squad lost two key players in Rachele Fitz and Lynzee Johnson, two key members from last season’s NCAA team in Erica Allenspach and Coirelle Yarde. Both were double-digit scorers.
Virginia @ Hofstra
On Hofstra: The Pride has high expectations after finishing the 2009-2010 season with a 20-14 mark and a WNIT appearance. Sophomore forward Shante Evans and backcourt trio Nicole Capurso, Candice Bellocchio and Aamira Terry should provide a solid foundation for the Pride this season. But it won’t be easy. As usual, coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey has a tough non-conference schedule lined up. The Pride opens the season at home on Friday night against the Virginia Cavaliers, a 21-win team that made the NCAA as an at-large selection last season. In addition to the aforementioned four players, the Pride is hoping to get more production from junior center Marie Malone.
On Virginia: All-everything guard Monica Wright has graduated, but Virginia has more than enough talent to rely on in talented backcourt mates Whitny Edwards and Ariana Moorer and junior forward Chelsea Shine. The Cavaliers should have ample depth in the backcourt with New York City sophomore China Crosby back.
Troy @ Stony Brook
On Stony Brook: The Seawolves played well down the stretch last season, finishing up 7-9 in the America East. This season Stony Brook is hoping to get off to a strong start in its non-conference slate. They may just do that. With All-America East candidate Kirsten Jeter and Misha Horsey in the fold, the Seawolves have ample experience. Add to that transfer students Whitney Davis, Talisha Bridges and Juanita Cochran and the Seawolves have a team that could make some noise. Experienced guards Tamiel Murray and Jodie Plikus are also expected to be factors.
On Troy: Troy struggled to a 12-17 mark last season, but its optimistic of its chances this year thanks to the return of second-leading scorer Donette McNair. Junior guard Sarah McAppion is expected to forma nice one-two punch with McNair.