Editor's Note: The BIG EAST will be previewing both the men's and women's team from each BIG EAST member each weekday from October 22 to November 9 in advance of the 2012-13 season. Use hashtag #BECountdown to join the conversation on Twitter.
St. John's Red Storm Women's Basketball
The Big Picture:
Under the direction of first-year head coach Joe Tartamella, the 2012-13 Red Storm squad returns four starters, seven letterwinners and 79 percent of its scoring from the 2011-12 team that posted a 24-10 overall record and advanced to the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
The Red Storm’s senior class is led by point guard Nadirah McKenith, a 2011-12 All-BIG EAST second team selection and three-time Nancy Lieberman Award Watch list honoree, guard Shenneika Smith, a 2011-12 All-BIG EAST first team and BIG EAST All-Tournament team selection and guard Eugeneia McPherson, who emerged during her sophomore year as one of the best sixth-men in the conference and moved up to a starting position in 2011-12. Smith and McKenith were also WBCA All-Region honorees.
The Red Storm will lose the talents of forward Da’Shena Stevens, one of the most decorated student-athletes in program history. For her career, Stevens totaled 1,515 points, 815 rebounds and landed herself in six of St. John’s top-five records listings. Stevens was a two-time WBCA All-Region selection and three-time all-BIG EAST honoree as well as the 2009 BIG EAST Freshman of the Year and 2012 BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award winner.
Nadirah McKenith, Shenneika Smith and Eugeneia McPherson were the Red Storm’s top three scorers in 2011-12, averaging 12.1 points per game and 35.4 points per game collectively. Smith, also named the 2012 All-Metropolitan Basketball Writers’ Association Player of the Year, led the way with 12.5 points, 6.4 rebounds per game. Also returning is Amber Thompson, a 2012 BIG EAST All-Rookie selection, and Mary Nwachukwu at the post position.