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WBB: A look at the locals

St. John's Nadirah McKenith looks to drive past

St. John's Nadirah McKenith looks to drive past Duke's Tricia Liston during the first half. (March 24, 2012) Credit: AP

Hofstra: Two-time AP All-American honorable mention selection Shante Evans is back along with fellow senior Candace Bond, which means the Pride will be in every game. Coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey has a lot to replace as her dependable backcourt of Nicole Capurso and Candice Bellocchio graduated. There is also the loss of sharpshooting guard Kate Loper, who transferred to Oregon to be closer to home. But Kilburn-Steveskey has sophomore guard Andreana Thomas, junior forward Anma Onyeuku and senior forward Deven Green, who all received valuable playing time last season. Everyone is high on freshman guard Asia Jackson, who has the skills to be an All-CAA player. Prediction: The schedule won’t be easy with Texas, St. John’s, Marist and Princeton looming, but the Pride will handle it and make a top three finish in the CAA.

St. John’s: The Red Storm set several school marks last season, making its first trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 and beating Connecticut in Storrs, preventing the Huskies from winning their 100th straight home game. The good news for first-year coach Joe Tartamella is that there is enough on the roster to make another run. Shenneika Smith, Nadirah McKenith and Eugeneia McPherson form one of the nation’s top backcourt trios. Sophomore forward Amber Thompson is a year older and a year wiser, while Mary Nwachukwu brings back a wealth of experience. There is also junior guard Keylantra Langley and junior guard Briana Brown, who gives the backcourt depth. Freshman guard Ashley Perez has the tools to be a special player, while fellow freshman forward Udobi Sandra will be expected to provide some rebounding in the paint. Prediction: St. John’s will again challenge for a top four spot in the Big East with the potential for another deep NCAA run.

Stony Brook: It’s year two for Stony Brook coach Beth O’Boyle. The Seawolves struggled to score last season and hopes new recruits like Miranda Jenkins, Brittany Snow and Kim Hanlon can step in. Jessica Previlon, Dani Klupenger and Sam Landers return, which should give the Seawolves a fighting chance on most nights. Prediction: A couple of early wins won’t hurt as the Seawolves host Rider and Navy on November 9 and 11, respectively. They hit the road for four straight against Morgan State, NJIT, Robert Morris and Youngstown State. It will still be a tough road, but look for an improved and more competitive Stony Brook team.

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