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St. John’s women picked to finish seventh in Big East Coaches’ Poll

Akina Wellere earns Preseason Conference honors as the Red Storm’s lead returning scorer.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-DePaul vs St. John's Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Despite three returning starters and a top recruit, the St. John’s women’s basketball team has its work cut out for them, if the Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll is correct.

Coming off their fourth straight 20-win season — and their seventh in the last eight — the Red Storm was picked to finish seventh in the conference on Wednesday, three points behind Seton Hall and six behind Georgetown.

Junior Akina Wellere was named to the Preseason All-Big East Team, averaging 11.3 points per game as the team’s leading returning scorer. Wellere led the team with 49 three-pointers in 107 attempts (.458 percent from downtown).

The Red Storm return eight other players who earned minutes last season as Joe Tartamella looks to replace top-scorer Jade Walker (13.5 PPG) and Aaliyah Lewis, who graduated after setting the school record for most games played.

Sophomore guard Alisha Kebbe and senior Imani Littleton return after earning most of the remaining starting minutes for Joe Tartamella’s team last season.

Marquette was a unanimous favorite to repeat after winning the Big East tournament last season, receiving the maximum 81 total points and nine of 10 first-place votes (coaches cannot vote for their own teams). The Golden Eagles bring back three players who earned All-Conference honors, including unanimous Big East Preseason Player of the Year Allazia Blockton.

DePaul earned the other first-place vote after earning at least a share of the conference regular season title for the fourth consecutive season. The Blue Demons return three players who redshirted a year ago.

Villanova and Creighton round out the rest of the teams selected to finish ahead of St. John’s.

Big East Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll

Position Team (1st Place Votes) Points
Position Team (1st Place Votes) Points
1 Marquette (9) 81
2 DePaul (1) 73
3 Villanova 61
4 Creighton 58
5 Georgetown 43
6 Seton Hall 40
7 St. John's 37
8 Butler 29
9 Providence 18
10 Xavier 10
Big East women’s poll: preseason Big