FAIRFAX, Va. — St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.), the No. 2 team in the Super 25 girls basketball rankings, has all the pieces of a great team, but it still needs somebody like Sydney Wood, a 5-9 senior guard, to make everything fit together.
Wood, a Northwestern signee with a 3.88 unweighted grade-point average, scored eight of her 19 points in the third quarter to help the Cadets push past Life Center Academy (Burlington, N.J.) 71-55 Friday at the Art Turner Tipoff Classic.
“We graduated a lot of seniors last year and even though we only have one freshman, that’s a lot of transition,” Wood said. “We wanted to make sure that we got off to a good start and jelled together well. I can help that by playing hard and being a good communicator.”
It was the opener for both teams and St. John’s coach Jonathan Scribner was happy with his team’s effort.
“It’s a first game, but I don’t care who we are playing, I’m nervous,” Scribner said. “Sydney is a four-year starter and I think the most underrated player in our area. I can’t wait to see what her rebound totals were. She’s relentless and she guards bigs and guards smalls. She just has that senior thing about her.”
St. John’s only freshman, Azzi Fudd, plays at a different level than a typical ninth-grader. Named for former WNBA player Jennifer Azzi, the 5-11 guard led all scorers with 23 points. She was the youngest player on USA Basketball’s U16 squad this past summer.
“She’s beating herself up right now because she missed a couple of shots,” Scribner said. “That’s how she thinks. I’ve never seen a player at her age be as polished and as ready but what makes her different is she’s a great defender and she’s a wonderful teammate.”
Wood couldn’t come up with a comparable player to Fudd at her age.
“Nobody comes to mind,” Wood said. “She’s such a young player to have such a mature game and she also plays defense.”