Andrea Peterson

While the guard position is generally reserved for the smaller players on the court, the guard’s role is not small by any means. Andrea Peterson is well aware of that.

Returning for her sophomore season in a St. John’s uniform, Peterson spent the summer improving her game, hoping to capitalize on the team’s success last season.

“I was here working out, making sure that everybody was on top of things,” she said, referring to her position as the point guard, a job synonymous with leadership and control.

Last season, Peterson accepted her role from the get-go, starting 18 out of 22 games in her rookie year. She averaged 27 minutes per game and chipped in with averages of 5.4 points and 2.1 rebounds per contest, while shooting nearly 50 percent from beyond the arc.

But the guard was forced to sit out nine games because of injury.

“She had a great freshman year,” coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “But it was a rough freshman year.”

Barnes Arico referred to Peterson’s injuries, which included three broken bones.

“The year was really tough for her but she’s one of our most consistent performers,” Barnes Arico said. “She ran the team last year at the point guard position and we’re expecting her to obviously be a great contributor.”

Exhibiting scrappiness, desire and unselfishness, Peterson describes her game as aggressive.

“I like to dive after loose balls and try to distribute to my teammates,” Peterson said.

With that kind of play, it’s no wonder the squad is coming off a 20-win season.

Peterson is keen on keeping the winning tradition at St. John’s. With UConn left out of the top spot in preseason polls, it seems as if the wealth is beginning to spread, and with the expansion of the Big East, anything goes.

“There are 16 teams in the conference and anyone could be at the top,” Peterson said. “Every team’s great.”

This puts St. John’s right in the mix with the other powerhouse programs.

“I think we’re a big dark horse,” she explained. “Last year, a lot of teams would underestimate us, but we’re working through it.”

With the surging success of the women’s program, Peterson sees a bright future ahead.

“I think [the Taffner Field House] is great,” Peterson said. “I think it’s a new opportunity for our program to build and a new opportunity for women’s basketball.”

Though looking ahead is key to fueling St. John’s rising reputation in the Big East, Peterson hopes to make a trip to the Big East tournament and dreams of making it to the NCAA Tournament. It may be wishful thinking, but that’s probably the same thing people said last year.

“It’s a big year for everybody this [season],” Peterson said.