The Lady Johnnies are going international.
Following in the footsteps of the St. John’s men’s basketball team last summer, the women’s basketball team will travel through Italy and Spain for pre-season games in the program’s first experience traveling abroad.
The Red Storm will play four games during the journey from Aug. 16 through Aug. 27, against the Dutch National Team, Adriatic Sea Sirens, Distrito Olimpico Madrid and CB Barcelona Saint Feliuenc. Mixed into the game schedule are sightseeing and service trips to famous spots such as the Coliseum and the Pantheon.
“This opportunity is more about the bigger picture for our players,” head coach Joe Tartamella said. “We’ll have a chance to visit our campus in Rome and be able to do some community service projects.”
The European contests will be the first time the Johnnies play against other teams since having lost their senior leaders, guards Eugeneia McPherson and Briana Brown.
“We’ve had about 10 practices and they’ve probably practiced a lot more together, so it will be a good test for us,” Tartarmella said.
Last season, the Johnnies finished with an overall record of 23-11 and defeated the University of Southern California in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. But the team lost to the University of Tennessee, 67-51, in the second round of the national tournament.
This year the team has added four freshmen, who are expected to see minutes from the pre-season journey. Team members admit that they are still in need of fine-tuning before the season starts and they hope the trip will do just that.
“We’re still trying to put the pieces together, but I think it gives us a better scale overall of where we are going to be in October,” junior guard Danaejah Grant said. “It gives us a jump-start on the other teams that don’t have this same opportunity. I think ultimately it puts us ahead of everyone else.”
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