JAMAICA, Queens (WABC) -- Amid the team's best start in school history, the St. John's University women's basketball team is ranked for the first time in seven years.
The Red Storm was ranked seventh in the Big East in the preseason polls, so the team's success has surprised many.
"I don't think people understand how hard it is to be able to go into every single game, and when you win games, you've got to really celebrate it," head coach Joe Tartamella said. "And so to have 13 (wins) and obviously more to come, it's been special for them."
Off to the best start program history at 13-0, St. John's -- now ranked No. 24 -- is one of only five remaining undefeated teams in Division I, along with No. 1 South Carolina, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 7 LSU, No. 8 Utah.
"We just play," guard Unique Drake said. "We just go out there and give it our all every game. I think that's the chip we have on our shoulder, just to prove everybody wrong."
The main reason for the questions heading into the season was roster turnover. St. John's lost six players to the transfer portal, but added two freshmen and several transfers, including leading scorer Jayla Everett.
"I think we're playing together well because we all have one goal," she said. "When we first started off this season, we had a meeting. And the one thing everybody had in common was, make it to the (NCAA) Tournament."
And they coalesced around that objective.
"All of us who came in, as well as the people who were here, just wanted to win," forward Jillian Archer said.
So when you win 13 in a row, superstitions take hold.
"I have a routine," Everett said. "I have to wear my long leggings. I wash certain underclothes that I like to have on, certain socks I wear. If I don't practice in it, I don't play it in."
"I don't drink red Gatorade before a game, so that's a big superstition of mine," Archer added. "Blue Gatorade is OK."
St. John's will look to extend its win streak Wednesday night against Seton Hall.
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