SJU Women's Basketball Returns to the Big Dance
For the fifth straight season, St. John's University's women's basketball team has earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Selected as the No. 8 seed in the Louisville Regional, the Red Storm will face ninth-seeded University of Southern California (USC) on Saturday, March 22, in Knoxville, TN.
Head coach Joe Tartamella is enjoying his second trip to the Big Dance in two years and his sixth trip overall, having served as associate head coach from 2008–2012 and assistant coach in 2006. "We continue to rewrite history," Tartamella observed. "Going two years in a row as head coach is obviously exciting, but going five years in a row as a program is a great testament to our players and the coaching staff that has guided them."
This marks the team’s ninth appearance in the NCAA Tournament, with its first coming in 1983. Overall, St. John's has a record of 6-8 during March Madness and has made it to the second round five times.
St. John's is one of two BIG EAST teams to receive bids to the 2014 NCAA Tournament, along with DePaul University. Saturday's meeting with USC will be the first in program history.
St. John's finished the regular season in second place in the BIG EAST conference, and advanced to the BIG EAST Tournament Final for the fourth time in program history, and the first time since 1988. They ultimately fell to top-seeded DePaul, 65-57.
Returning to the Tournament has been a season-long goal for the Red Storm, Tartamella stressed. "We're excited to get back there and face USC."
On Thursday, March 20, St. John's held a send-off party for the women's basketball team prior to their departure for the Tournament. It took place in Carnesecca Arena, where many members of the University community enthusiastically showed their support.