Akina Wellere Named to Preseason All-BIG EAST Team|
Oct. 18, 2017
QUEENS, N.Y. - Following a breakout sophomore season, St. John's women's basketball junior Akina Wellere was named to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team, the league announced Wednesday.
Wellere is the team's top returning scorer after averaging 11.3 points in 29.9 minutes per game as a sophomore, both of which were career highs. The junior was deadly from behind the arc, knocking down 49 of her 107 tries from distance for a 45.8 clip to lead the BIG EAST in three point field goal percentage. Throughout the year, Wellere landed on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll three times.
In conjunction with the Preseason All- BIG EAST Team announcement, the conference also released its annual Preseason Coaches' Poll. As a team, the Red Storm was predicted to finish seventh in the league. Marquette, the reigning BIG EAST Tournament champion, was a unanimous first-place pick. DePaul, Villanova, Creighton and Georgetown rounded out the top five. Seton Hall was picked to finish sixth, while Butler, Providence and Xavier closed out the poll.
Despite losing two of the most decorated player in program history following the BIG EAST title season of 2015-16, St. John's put together a solid year in 2016-17. The Johnnies reached the 20-win mark for the fourth consecutive season and made an appearance in the WNIT, making it 10-straight seasons with a postseason berth. For the fourth time in five WNIT appearances, the Red Storm advanced to the WNIT Round of 16 before falling to eventual WNIT Champion Michigan.
St. John's returns a total of eight players who saw action last season, including BIG EAST All-Freshman Team selection Alisha Kebbe, along with seniors Imani Littleton, Tamesha Alexander and Maya Singleton. Additionally, Andrayah Adams and Shamachya Duncan are back for their second season of collegiate basketball, while redshirt freshman Tiana England and true freshmen Qadashah Hoppie and Kayla Charles will suit up for the Red Storm for their rookie campaigns.
Hoppie is the highest rated BIG EAST rookie, checking in at No. 44 in the class of 2017 according to Prospect Nation. Charles is a local product who played her high school ball at William Cullen Bryant High School where she was a dominant force in the paint. St. John's also added Curteeona Brelove from VCU, but the senior will sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations.
St. John's kicks off the 2017-18 campaign on Nov. 10 when the Red Storm hosts St. Francis Brooklyn inside Carnesecca Arena. The Johnnies and Terriers are scheduled for a 4:30 opening tip live on ESPN3. Season tickets are now on sale through the St. John's Ticket Office and can be secured by visiting RedStormTix.com or by calling 1-888-GO-STORM.
2017-18 BIG EAST Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll