Dana Petersen

Dana Petersen’s future is not exactly certain.

The senior guard tore a tendon in her left foot prior to the season, but until she sees a specialist on Dec. 2 she is unsure what the injury will mean for her this season and next.

“I don’t know what I am going to do yet,” Petersen said. “I don’t know if I am going to red-shirt and come back this year, red-shirt and come back next year or just red-shirt and not come back. I don’t know what I am doing at all.”

Some things are certain though. The 5-foot-9 guard will graduate in January, attend graduate school at St. John’s to study finance and go to work over the summer for her aunt, Desi Petersen, at Brown Brothers Harriman, an investment bank in Manhattan.

But coach Kim Barnes Arico wishes her team’s captain could enjoy her senior season.

“It breaks my heart not to see Dana in her uniform every day because she’s been a spark for our team since I took over the program,” Barnes Arico said.

Though Petersen’s minutes became limited after her freshman year – she only played in 16 of St. John’s 31 games last season – but the characteristics that made the fourth-year coach name her team captain last season have not changed. The Staten Island native is known for her hustle, hard work, energy, toughness and determination. She is a leader, both vocally and by example. While it may be harder to do that as effectively as she has in the past, this year Petersen knows she has help.

“It’s hard because when you’re not on the court you can’t convey what is supposed to be done,” Petersen said. “It’s a difficult position to be in, but that’s why we have four other seniors this year. It’s almost like the four of them are captains too.”

She said that after the team’s 20-11 season last year, and a trip to the WNIT, the program’s goal is to make the NCAA Tournament.

That is a long way from where the team was in Petersen’s freshman year in 2002-2003, when they finished 8-19.

She was able to stay close to home for college and get the opportunity to play at Madison Square Garden in 2003-2004, something the team will do twice this season. Petersen looks back fondly on how the program has grown and her role in its development.

“It’s been a nice ride,” she said. “I can say that I was part of the turnaround of St. John’s basketball. I’ve learned a lot as a person and a basketball player.”

Barnes Arico has learned about Petersen too.

“She just never quits,” Barnes Arico said. “Sometimes when people go out on the court for a couple of minutes, they’re disappointed that they only got to play a couple minutes, but Dana is the type of kid that, if she goes in for those couple minutes, [she] and plays her tail off.”