The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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COURTSIDE: Dynamic Duo

In order for a team to be successful, all of the players must work together as one cohesive group. This normally takes time, as everyone needs to get used to one another’s playing styles and personalities.

However, the chemistry between Tiana England and Qadashah Hoppie last season was unparalleled, despite the fact that Hoppie was a freshman and England was in her second year at St. John’s, having missed her first season with an injury.

“I had known Q before we came here, we came from the same AAU program before she switched over,” England said. “We already had a little bit of chemistry together.”

This initial building block from their AAU days made building their chemistry at St. John’s simple. When Hoppie arrived last season, the two found ways to take their dynamic to a new high.

“I think it really started off the court, we became really close off the court,” Hoppie said. “It translated to on the court and we just got to know each other more and where we like to be.”

At the start of last season, both Hoppie and England put up double figures in their first three games. The duo played in all 34 games and combined for over 600 points as the Red Storm made it’s 11th-straight postseason run.

Hoppie’s best game came against William and Mary in November, when she dropped 21 points. Last season, she averaged 10.1 points per game while starting in 11 games.

For England, her best game came in a February win against DePaul where she dropped 22 points. She also led the team with 171 assists last season while averaging a team high of five assists per game.

Their individual success on the court was, in part, because of each other. With England’s strong ability to pass and set up scoring opportunities for her teammates and Hoppie’s raw scoring power and ability to shoot the three, the duo become one of the best backcourt tandems in the Big East. Although they have had a lot of success when they are on the court together, their ability to find each other is something that comes naturally.

“It’s something that kinda happened,” England said. “We knew where each other were going to be.”

Head Coach Joe Tartamella appears to have a backcourt built for future success.

“Obviously playing major minutes on the floor together, certainly helped them from a basketball standpoint but I think the bigger part is they get along really well off the floor,” Coach Tartamella said. “I think that they are going to continue to grow together and it’s a great backcourt to have.”

Their growth both on and off the court is something of importance as the duo still have three more years together. For this upcoming season, their bond will play a crucial role in how successful each one can be.

“The chemistry is gonna have a lot to do with it [their success],” Hoppie said. “That chemistry is gonna have to play a big part as well as the speed and our tempo and energy on the court.”

As a whole, chemistry is something that the team has worked on a lot in the offseason.

“We do a lot of team building activities and hangout with each other a lot,” Hoppie said when asked about how they strengthen the team’s camaraderie. “A lot of the time that transitions to the court.”

“[We’re] continuing to make sure we’re around each other, getting to know each other and creating that trust and accountability,” Tartamella said. “I think a lot of that happens off the floor more than on the floor.”

With an impressive dynamic between Hoppie and England, the Red Storm will look to make a 12th-straight postseason run this season.

“Everyone’s buying into what we’re looking forward to do this year,” England said. “So as long as we have one common goal, we’ve got it.”


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About the Contributor
Nick Bello
Nick Bello, Photo Editor
Nick Bello is a senior who has been with the Torch since his freshman year as Assistant Photo Editor, Social Media Manager, Sports Editor, and now Photo Editor. Nick has had the opportunity to intern with the St. John’s Athletics Department the past two years as a photographer, where he has shot countless games and events. His work has been featured on numerous websites and social media accounts, as well as the Providence Journal. Nick has a strong passion for photography and is excited to display that passion in the Torch every week.    You can reach Nick at [email protected].
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