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St. John’s women look to bounce back in Albany vs Great Danes

Recapping the Red Storm’s progress in the Gulf Coast Showcase and looking ahead to December’s matchups

Wendell Cruz

Following a 1-2 showing against tough competition over Thanksgiving, the St. John’s women’s basketball team (3-2) will visit Albany on Thursday before one last trip to Florida and then a homestand back at Carnesecca Arena.

St. John’s fell to 3-2 over the holiday break at the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida, with both losses coming against ranked competition.

After topping Western Michigan in the opening game 76-48, the Red Storm’s comeback against defending national champion South Carolina fell short in the tournament’s semifinal on Saturday. The team cut a 23-point Gamecock lead to just nine with 3:30 to play but couldn’t inch any closer in a 76-58 loss.

The Red Storm then dropped the third-place game on Sunday to No. 17 South Florida 68-59 despite committing just six turnovers.

So far, so good for Tartamella’s Johnnies

Balance has been the story and the key to St. John’s season so far.

Five players are currently averaging more than 10 points per game, and the team has had at least four double-digit scorers in four of five games.

Seven different players recorded at least one field goal in each of St. John’s showings at the Gulf Coast Showcase. Leading scorer Akina Wellere led the team with 16 points in the win over Western Michigan and had 14 against South Carolina.

Tiana England, Maya Singleton, Qadashah Hoppie also had double-digit performances in Estero. So far, England has been the one who has filled the shoes of Aaliyah Lewis as the Red Storm’s primary distributor with 27 assists in the team’s first five games, and she had 10 dimes against South Carolina.

Singleton has already recorded four double-doubles as the team’s leading rebounder (10.8 points per game, 10.2 rebounds per game). Highly-touted freshman Hoppie is second on the team with 13.2 PPG in just 25.4 minutes per game off the bench.

The Red Storm will look to bounce back from these two straight losses by trying to cool off hot-shooting Albany, which has won four in a row after a season-opening loss to No. 15 Maryland.

The Great Danes are currently shooting 42.2 percent from three-point range, with redshirt senior Jessica Fequirere leading the way with 20.6 points per game on 48.3 percent shooting from downtown.

St. John’s and Albany last met on this same date last year, which the Red Storm took 54-36 at Carnesecca. The Great Danes went on to win their sixth straight American East Conference Tournament championship and were eliminated by UConn in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Tournament 116-55.

St. John’s also won their only other previous meeting in 1998.

Looking ahead

After Albany St. John’s will make a return trip to South Florida for a Sunday matinee against Miami in Coral Gables.

The Red Storm will then return to Queens for four straight home games before opening conference play at Marquette on December 28.