St. John's basketball participating in newly created WBIT, drawing Florida

The Red Storm still have basketball left to be played this season
Mar 9, 2024; Uncasville, CT, USA; St. John's Red Storm forward Jillian Archer (14) shoots against
Mar 9, 2024; Uncasville, CT, USA; St. John's Red Storm forward Jillian Archer (14) shoots against / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

While many St. John's basketball fans are still reeling in shock and anger at the NCCA Tournament selection committee leaving Rick Pitino's squad out of the field, the women's team had its season extend by accepting an invitation to the newly created WBIT.

The Women's Basketball Invitation Tournament is a newly created 32-team tournament announced by the NCAA last year, it somewhat replaces the WNIT. After going 17-14 (11-8 Big East), the Red Storm became one of four Big East teams to receive an invitation to compete in the first edition of the WBIT.

This will be the eighth postseason appearance for the Red Storm in the 12 year tenure of head coach Joe Tartamella. For the several seniors that the Johnnies have on its roster, including its leader in guard Unique Drake, the WBIT gives a chance for them to extend their collegiate careers.

St. John's will travel to take on Florida in the 1st round on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. ET (ESPN+). The Gators went 16-15 (5-1, SEC) and features former Red Storm standout Leilani Correa.

Correa, now a senior, played three seasons for St. John's averaging 15 points per game in 81 contests with the Red Storm, crossing the 1,000-point mark during that time. She would transfer down to Gainesville following the 2021-22 season.

The senior guard from Manchester, New Jersey has carried over her brilliant play from Carnesecca Arena to the Exactech Arena being the second-leading scorer for the Gators this season with 17.4 points per game on 44-percent shooting.

The Gators have three dangerous scorers averaging double figures, including Correa. Senior center Ra Shaya Kyle will be a tough matchup inside averaging 12 points per game on 58-percent shooting along with nine rebounds per game.

Another senior, Aliyah Matharu, leads the Gators with 18 points per game. This will be just the fourth time Florida and St. John's face all-time with the Red Storm leading, 2-1.

The last matchup came in an early season contest back in the 2014-15 season, a 72-66 win.