NY/NJ teams gear up for conference play

LOIS ELFMAN | 1/3/2019, 1:18 p.m.
It’s been a busy and exciting autumn for Division I women’s basketball teams in New York and New Jersey.

It’s been a busy and exciting autumn for Division I women’s basketball teams in New York and New Jersey. Conference play begins with the new year. As local teams prepare, we look at how their pre-conferences schedules went.

The lone D I team in Manhattan, Columbia University, is 2-9. Manhattan College in the Bronx is struggling at 2-9 and without leading scorer Gabby Cajou because of injury. Sophomore center Courtney Warley is the team’s leading offensive presence. In the Bronx, Fordham University is gaining strength. The Rams are 9-5 after winning the Fordham Holiday Classic.

Wagner College on Staten Island is 2-9 and has suffered some lopsided losses. Out on Long Island, the Stony Brook Seawolves have played a surprisingly strong 11-2 preconference schedule led by 5-foot-1 guard Shania Johnson, who is averaging 16 points, 3.9 rebounds and 8.25 assists per game. The other LI team, Hofstra University, is 6-6.

St. John’s University in Queens is 7-5 but can take pride in a couple of close losses—holding the renowned University of Connecticut to 55-65 and Florida State to 53-57. Red Storm sophomore guard Qadashah Hoppie is the leading scorer.

St. Francis College in Brooklyn is 6-6 under new head coach Linda Cimino. Junior guard Jade Johnson from Australia has been the dominant offensive presence, averaging 19 points per game. Long Island University continues to struggle, only 1-10 to start the season.

The scene in New Jersey is busy and strong. Rutgers University is 8-3. The Scarlet Knights have been dominant in their wins and close in their losses. Monmouth University is 4-7 under Jody Craig, who is in her first full season as head coach. Rider University is also 4-7. Saint Peter’s University, under new head coach Marc Mitchell, is 5-6, the best results the Peacocks have had in years.

Princeton University is 8-7, but the wins will likely start flowing once the Tigers start Ivy League play. Fairleigh Dickinson University is 3-8. Seton Hall University is a strong 9-3 after opening Big East play Sunday with a win over St. John’s. Junior forward Shadeen Samuels is averaging near a double/double with 16 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.