The St. John's women's basketball team has clinched an NCAA Tournament berth in eight straight seasons and it won't be easy to reach number nine as Joe Tartamella has put together a very daunting non-conference slate.
The Red Storm will play six games away from home, spotlighted by their opening game against UCLA in Los Angeles, and five games at Carnesecca Arena, including a game against Marist.
In addition to facing defending WNIT champ UCLA on November 13, the program will play UC Riverside, Rutgers, Kansas, UCF and Duquesne on the road.
Opening the season with three games away from home (the first two in California) and three games in eight days will be difficult, but playing at 'The Rac' against a Scarlet Knights team that lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to eventual champs UConn will also not be an easy task.
Rutgers finished 23-10 last season and Coach Vivian Stringer always motivates her team to be ready to play, no matter how much talent she has on her roster.
The marquee match-up of St. John's non-conference schedule will be a battle against Kansas, on December 6, at historic Phog Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas struggled last season, finishing 15-17, but they made the Sweet 16 in 2012 and 2013 and are expected to be a strong contender in the Big 12 again this year.
At Carnesecca Arena, Tartamella will host Marist, USF and Sacred Heart when they return from their trip to New Jersey and Fairfield and Yale in the later half of the schedule.
Marist is a powerhouse women's basketball school as they made the dance every year since 2005 before losing in the MAAC Championship game last season. The Red Foxes won 10 out of their last 11 conference games and could have been a dangerous team in the Big Dance had they won their conference title.
Despite missing out on the NCAA Tournament, Marist finished with 23 wins and played St. John's in the WNIT. The Johnnies won in a close, hard fought battle, 49-48, on the road.
The 11 total St. John's opponents had a combined record of 198-155 one year ago with five schools making the postseason and four finishing with more than 20 victories.