Women’s Basketball Big East 2018-19 Projections
Though Marquette lost to DePaul in the Big East Championship last season, there is good reason to believe the Golden Eagles will dominate the conference standings in the 2018-19 campaign. The Golden Eagles team are a veteran squad that will return all five members of their starting lineup from last year, including the reigning Big East Player of the Year, senior guard Allazia Blockton. With plenty of skill and experience, the Golden Eagles are poised to avenge their loss in the Big East Championship and make a run in the NCAA Tournament.
DePaul will look to repeat as Big East Champions after defeating Marquette in the final of last year’s Big East Tournament. The Blue Demons earned fifth seed in the NCAA tournament and narrowly lost to Texas A&M in the second round. Though the loss of Amarah Coleman — the Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player — to the Women’s National Basketball Association will hurt the team, two First Team all-Big East selections will return to the squad: Junior guard Kelly Campbell, a constant triple-double threat, and senior guard Mart’e Grays, the team’s leading scorer from last season, will provide the Blue Demons an opportunity to challenge the Golden Eagles in the Big East this season.
Creighton finished last season with a 19-13 overall record and an 11-7 record in the Big East. The Bluejays will return their two leading scorers, senior forward Audrey Faber and junior forward Jaylen Agnew, and they will also look for growth from sophomore guard Temi Carda, who was selected to the all-Big East freshman team last season. Creighton will lean on Faber, Agnew and Carda this season as it contends with Big East powerhouses Marquette and DePaul.
The Hoyas are poised to improve upon last season, which ended with a sixth place finish in Big East regular season play and a second-round defeat in the Women’s National Invitational tournament. Though Georgetown lost a big presence in Cynthia Petke, who graduated last year, three upperclassmen will return to the team after sitting out last season. Senior guard and Louisville transfer Brianna Jones and junior forward Anita Kelava, a transfer from Maine, will make their debuts after sitting out last season because of NCAA transfer rules. Coming off a season-ending injury last year, graduate student guard and three-time all-Big East selection Dorothy Adomako will make her return to the team. The Hoyas will also have a potent backcourt composed of senior guard Dionna White and graduate student guard Mikayla Venson. Head Coach James Howard will have many scorers at his disposal this year.
With an impressive 23-9 record and an appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, Villanova remains another contender for the conference title. The Wildcats will miss Alex Louin, who graduated and was the team’s leading scorer last season. However, the talented guard duo of junior Mary Gedaka and senior sharpshooter Adrianna Hahn will look to pick up the slack.
6. St. John’s
The Red Storm had an up-and-down 2017-18 season, finishing with a 19-15 record and a 9-9 record in conference play. Talented sophomore guards Qadashah Hoppie and Tiana England will look to replace the loss of leading scorer Maya Singleton. St John’s will gain veteran support from senior forward Akina Wellere and junior guard Alisha Kebbe.
Under the direction of Head Coach Kurt Godlevske, the Bulldogs finished 15-17 last season. The team will return two all-Big East selections in senior forward Tori Schickel and redshirt senior guard Whitney Jennings, as well as their third leading scorer in junior guard Kristen Spolyar. While their starting five will be strong, a lack of depth may cause concern for the Bulldogs this season.
Providence is a young team hoping to improve upon last season’s 10-20 record and last place finish in the Big East. The Friars will return their four top scorers, including senior guard Jovana Nogic, who averaged over 17 points a game. Sophomore guard Channel Williams will be an important part of the Friars’ backcourt as she aims to build off her all-Big East freshman team selection from last season. Look for Providence to make significant improvements this year as they gain more experience as a team.
9. Seton Hall
The Pirates finished with a disappointing 16-16 record after leading scorer Donnaizha Fountain left the team abruptly midway through the season. The team will return one of their top four scorers in senior guard Inja Butina and will be aided by two transfers, sophomore guard Desiree Elmorem and graduate student guard Diandra Darosa. With multiple transfers, the Pirates may take some time to gel throughout the year.
Xavier, like Providence, was a young team that struggled to find its footing last season, losing 20 out of 30 games. This season may prove tough for the Musketeers once again, as all three of their top scorers graduated. Sophomore guard Aaliyah Dunham, who averaged six points a game last season and was selected to the all-Big East freshman team, will look to push the team forward. Without a single senior on their roster, Xavier may experience growing pains against strong Big East competition.