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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Breaking down the 10 teams in the 2016 Women's BIG EAST Tournament


                                   Photo Credit: Geno Green


For the first time in BIG EAST Tournament history, Chicago will host all of the games at McGrath-Phillips Arena— home of the DePaul Blue Demons.

Here is a breakdown of each of the 10 teams in this season's tournament:


No. 1 DePaul- 24-7 overall, 16-2 BIG EAST

Last 10 games: 9-1

Leading Scorer: Chanise Jenkins (15.2 PPG)

BIG EAST Tournament Draw: Quarterfinal versus the winner No. 8 Xavier/No. 9 Butler (March 6, 6:30 p.m on FS2)


Since the current incarnation of the BIG EAST Conference in the 2013-14 season, the DePaul Blue Demons have been the gold standard with three consecutive regular season titles.

The common thread has been the play of seniors Chanise Jenkins and Megan Podkowa.

The BIG EAST Player of the Year ranks second on the team and third in the conference with 5.2 assists per game, while Podkowa is third in rebounds per game (8.1).

The all-around play of junior Jessica January has given balance to a DePaul team who comes into the conference tournament with five straight wins by 20 or more opponents.


DePaul’s season series versus Xavier (2-0) and Butler (2-0).



No. 2 Villanova- 19-10 overall, 12-6 BIG EAST

Last 10 games: 7-3

Leading Scorer: Caroline Coyer (14.0 PPG)

BIG EAST Tournament Draw: Quarterfinal versus the winner of No. 7 Creighton/No. 10 Providence (March 6, Noon on FS2).


An unexpected twist to Villanova’s season occurred with Caroline Coyer’s season-ending knee injury in mid-February.

The Wildcats managed to thrive in trying circumstances with three straight wins to close the regular season. Sophomore Alex Louin and freshman Adrianna Hahn have picked up the slack in Coyer’s absence.

Louin scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds in Villanova’s 66-46 win against Butler on Feb. 28, while in the last two games, Hahn scored 35 points on 11-of-27 from the field (40.7 percent).


Villanova’s season series versus Creighton (0-2) and Providence (2-0).



No. 3 Seton Hall- 22-7 overall, 12-6 BIG EAST

Last 10 games: 7-3

Leading Scorer: Tabitha Richardson-Smith (19.5 PPG)

BIG EAST Tournament Draw: Quarterfinal versus No. 6 Marquette (March 6, 2:30 p.m. on FS2).


After falling to DePaul in last season’s BIG EAST Conference Championship game, Seton Hall came back motivated to put together another solid regular season at 22-7.

Like DePaul, Seton Hall comes into the conference tournament winners of its last five games.

Richardson-Smith’s play has been complemented by Shakena Richardson’s team-leading 5.6 assists per game and could pose an equal challenge to DePaul’s Chanise Jenkins and/or Jessica January if the teams meet once more in the championship game.


Seton Hall’s season series versus Marquette (1-1).



No. 4 St. John’s- 20-9 overall, 11-7 BIG EAST

Last 10 games: 6-4

Leading Scorer: Danajeah Grant (19.7 PPG)

BIG EAST Tournament Draw: Quarterfinal versus No. 5 Georgetown (March 6, 8:30 p.m. on FS2).


The St. John’s Red Storm appear to be a lock into this season’s NCAA Tournament, but a 1-2 mark in their final three games could raise some eyebrows.

The ultimate cure for the Red Storm’s problems could come in the form of the Hoyas in the quarterfinal round.

St. John’s swept the regular season series with wins of 65-60 and 63-55 against Georgetown.

Consistency in the lineup has played a key role in St. John’s success this season with Grant, Aliyyah Handford and Imani Littleton starting each game.


St. John’s season series versus Georgetown (2-0).



No. 5 Georgetown- 16-12 overall, 9-9 BIG EAST

Last 10 games: 7-3

Leading Scorer: Dionna White (14.6 PPG)

BIG EAST Tournament Draw: Quarterfinal versus No. 4 St. John’s (March 6, 8:30 p.m. on FS2).


Second team All-BIG EAST selections Dionna White and Dorothy Adomako will be counted on to carry the Georgetown Hoyas into the conference tournament.

Thus far, the duo has led the Hoyas to a 12-win turnaround from last season and can add to the total on March 6 against St. John’s.


Georgetown’s season series versus St. John’s (0-2).


No. 6 Marquette- 14-15 overall, 9-9 BIG EAST

Last 10 games: 6-4

Leading Scorer: Allazia Blockton (13.0 PPG)

BIG EAST Tournament Draw: Quarterfinal versus No. 3 Seton Hall (March 6, 2:30 p.m. on FS2).


The future looks in bright in Milwaukee as freshman Allazia Blockton took the conference by storm with 13.0 PPG.

Blockton was named the BIG EAST Freshman of the Year and set the conference record for the most points in a season (337).

At minimum, another opportunity will come for Blockton to pad her point totals as Marquette and Seton Hall meet on March 6.


Marquette’s season series versus Seton Hall (1-1).



No. 7 Creighton- 14-16 overall, 8-10 BIG EAST

Last 10 games: 4-6

Leading Scorer: MC McGrory (12.2 PPG)

BIG EAST Tournament Draw: First Round versus No. 10 Providence (March 5, 2 p.m. on BEDN/Fox Sports Go).


For the Creighton Blue Jays to be competitive in the conference tournament, freshman Audrey Faber will be counted on, along with MC McGrory.

Faber finished the regular season with a team-high in points (393) and minutes (916), while McGrory led the Blue Jays in scoring with an average of 12.2 PPG.
 

Creighton’s season series versus Providence (1-1).



No. 8 Xavier- 17-12 overall, 8-10 BIG EAST

Last 10 games: 3-7

Leading Scorer: Raeshaun Gaffney (11.3 PPG)

BIG EAST Tournament Draw: First Round versus No. 9 Butler (March 5, 4:30 p.m. on BEDN/Fox Sports Go).


After coming into conference play with lofty expectations at 9-2, things spiraled out of control for the Xavier Musketeer.

Going into the BIG EAST Tournament on the wrong side of the winning tree, Xavier will rely on all-conference Honorable Mention Briana Glover.

Glover has amassed 16 double-doubles on the season and is second in points per game for Xavier (11.0).


Xavier’s season series versus Butler (2-0).



No. 9 Butler- 9-20 overall, 4-14 BIG EAST

Last 10 games: 2-8

Leading Scorer: Blaire Langlois (12.8 PPG)

BIG EAST Tournament Draw: First Round versus No. 8 Xavier (March 5, 4:30 p.m. on BEDN/Fox Sports Go).


Butler’s season has been an overall disappointment, but could salvage things by picking up a win against No. 9 seed Xavier on March 5.

Butler’s season series versus Xavier (0-2).



No. 10 Providence- 5-23 overall, 1-17 BIG EAST

Last 10 games: 1-9

Leading Scorer: Sarah Beal (10.9 PPG)

BIG EAST Tournament Draw: First Round versus No. 7 Creighton (March 5, 2 p.m. on BEDN/Fox Sports Go).


A lot can change over a 15-year span and for the Providence Friars, that happens to be last time they won a BIG EAST Tournament game.

Providence knocked off Seton Hall, 72-61 as the No. 11 seed in the tournament.


Providence’s season series versus Creighton (1-1).



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