Picked to finish seventh in the Big East Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the players of St. John’s University are ready to hit the court and show their stuff. Fifth-year forward Rayven Peeples said she believes the Red Storm has the right pieces to be successful and the veterans will be an asset.
“We’ve worked on what’s needed to be worked on,” said fifth-year guard Kadaja Bailey, who was named to the Preseason All-Big East Team. “We try to stay focused on what we can do, what we do on the court. Basically, just staying locked in.” Sixth-year guard Mimi Reid is a transfer, choosing to utilize her COVID bonus year (she missed her freshman year due to injury) to finish out her playing days at St. John’s after playing at Ole Miss. “The teammates made me feel welcome,” said Reid, who is from the Bronx. “I’m excited to play with them.”
Senior guard Lauren Park-Lane and graduate student post player Sidney Cooks of Seton Hall University are ready to play hard and win this season. Both were named to the Preseason All-Big East Team. Coach Anthony Bozzella said Park-Lane, an improbable basketball hero due to her petite size, is one of the most competitive players he’s ever seen. Cooks said they will build on last year’s run to the title game of the postseason WNIT.
“It’s a big confidence-booster,” said Cooks, who promised to bring personality, colorful hair and great lashes. “We’re trying to get everyone on board. We’ve worked really hard. The whole summer, we rarely went home. Me and Lauren wanted to stay in the gym so much. Finding that consistency so this year can be so much easier because we already know what we’re capable of. … By the time it’s my last college game, I want to be proud of myself.”
Park-Lane said she’s excited about the Pirates’ depth. “We have a lot of talented players this year,” she said, giving props to freshman guard/forward Shailyn Pinkney and junior guard Amari Wright. “Of course, our transfers are very talented. Once we put it all together and we’re meshing…I feel the sky’s the limit for this team and I can’t wait.”
After three years impacted by the pandemic, Park-Lane is looking forward to a senior year with everyone healthy and no game cancellations. “Just being able to hoop with my teammates and have fun,” she said.