Cardinals Outlast Johnnies

The St. John’s women’s basketball team suffered their third consecutive loss following a 57-54 defeat to Louisville Sunday afternoon.

Despite the defeat, the Red Storm (9-9, 3-3) saw Nadirah McKenith become the St. John’s all-time leader in assists. Heading into the game, McKenith needed seven assists to break the record of 530. She ended the game with eight assists, bringing her career total to 532.

In a game that saw 13 lead changes, the Red Storm struggled with their its free throws, shooting 7 for 15 from the line.
Senior Shenneika Smith, alongside Freshman guard Aliyyah Handford, set the pace for the Johnnies early in the first half, as they each put up a pair of baskets and gave the Johnnies a four point lead – the biggest they would have – early in the
game.

The Cardinals (16-4, 4-2) quickly got out of that hole following a media timeout and exchanged jump shots with the Red Storm throughout most of the half.

Turnovers and fouls proved costly for St. John’s later in the half, where Louisville drew a five point lead with two minutes to go. The Johnnies pulled within two points heading into the half, courtesy of Handford’s layup with a minute left, assisted by McKennith.

The second half was hardly less dramatic than the first, as the two Big East rivals exchanged points each time they carried the ball up the court.

Smith and Handford did most of the heavy lifting for the Red Storm, scoring 23 points and 16 points, respectively.
Louisville allowed St. John’s to get back into the game with less than a minute left when Smith was fouled by Sara Hammond. Smith cut the lead down to three after draining both of her shots from the line.

It seemed Louisville would be able to hold off the storm for 40 more seconds, but a missed jumper led to a defensive rebound by Smith, which gave St. John’s an opportunity to tie the game up. Smith missed the initial three-pointer and Louisville got the rebound, but was stolen by Handford, who gave the ball to McKennith. The senior guard failed to convert and the Red Storm suffered yet another heart breaking defeat, their fifth loss this season by three points or less.

St. John’s looks to get back into the winning column when they host travel to Providence on Jan. 30t.

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