A Look At The St. John's Red Storm

The Hartford Courant

Next meeting: The Red Storm and Huskies will meet in New York this season. St. John's has not defeated UConn since Jan. 6, 1993. The Huskies beat the Red Storm 66-52 last season at Gampel Pavilion.

Last season: The Red Storm (25-7) finished with their most wins since 1982-83, when they had 28. St. John's was 12-4 in the Big East, finishing tied for fourth while tying the program mark for most conference wins.

It also posted the biggest win in program history, defeating then No. 4 Notre Dame on Feb. 16, 76-71. The Red Storm added another milestone by finishing the year ranked in both Top 25 Polls for the first time in program history -- No. 18 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll and No. 15 in the final AP Poll.

After losing to Notre Dame in the Big East quarterfinals, the Red Storm made their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance, advancing to the second round with a 65-47 win over Princeton. St. John's came close to making its first appearance in the Sweet 16 but lost 66-65 in overtime to then-No. 11 Florida State in the second round.

Coach Kim Barnes-Arico (130 wins, eight seasons) enters this season second behind Joe Mullaney for most wins in women's basketball. Barnes was honored with the Maggie Dixon Award as the All-Met Division I coach of the year. Da'Shena Stevens and Shenneika Smith earned All-Met second team honors.

Who's Gone, Who's Back: St. John's loses guard Kelly McManon, the top three-point shooter in program history. She was 69 for 155 (44.5 percent) last season. Forward Joy McCorvey, who started all 32 games and averaged 25.8 minutes, is also gone.

But Stevens, now a junior, led the Red Storm in scoring and rebounding, nearly averaging a double-double with 14.3 points and 7.6 rebounds. She was seventh in scoring and ninth in rebounding among all players in the conference and posted a team-high 25 double-digit scoring games, six 20-point performances and six double-doubles. She was a first team All-Big East selection, a Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Region I All-American and an Associated Press honorable mention All-American.

Stevens, a native of Stamford, had two of her best games against top-ranked teams. She scored a team-high 25 points and had 11 boards against then-No. 4 North Carolina on Dec. 6. In the 76-71 upset win over Notre Dame, she had 21 points and 11 boards.

Smith, a sophomore, was a Full Court Press second team freshman All-American and a unanimous Big East freshman team pick, finishing the season second in scoring (12.9), tied for third in rebounding (5.3) and second with 25 blocks. A three-time freshman of the week selection, Smith broke the rookie scoring record and set the mark with 412 points and 23 double-digit scoring games, including four 20-plus point performances.

The recruiting class includes 6-foot-2 forward Zakiyyah Shahid-Martin of Louisville, Ky. Shahid-Martin led her high school to four district championships, one regional championship and a state Final Four. She was a 2010 all-district selection and a McDonald's nominee.Shahid-Martin will join Keylantra Langley and Briana Brown as incoming freshmen for 2010-11.

Guard Keylantra Langley of Bridgeport is a dynamic guard who can do it all. An extremely well-rounded player, the Bridgeport native creates scoring chances by driving to the basket and drawing fouls. She averaged 15.2 points at Lauralton Hall of Milford as a junior, including a 32-point performance in a Class LL second-round playoff victory over Hamden. A two-time Connecticut Post All-Star, she has helped her high school team win more than 20 games two-straight seasons.

Norwalk's Briana Brown is a talented player from King Low Heywood Thomas prep school.What's at stake

Arico-Barnes is considered one the best young coaches in Division I and her program made great strides last season. Stevens and Smith have the potential to be one of the best scoring tandems in the nation.

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