Johnnies Keep Stringer Stuck on 899
St. John’s defeated Rutgers 61-48 on Saturday and prevented Coach C. Vivian Stringer from getting her 900 win.
Having won 5 straight games, their longest winning streak this season, the Red Storm (15-10, 9-4) are sitting in prime position to book a spot in the NCAA tournament this March.
Aliyyah Handford gave St. John’s the momentum early in the first half as she recorded 8 points in the first 8 minutes of action.
The Scarlet Knights (14-12, 5-8), who were on the wrong end of an 8 point lead midway through the half, were able to make a short run to get back within 4, but the Johnnies took control of the game in the remaining minutes of the half.
Two 3 pointers from Briana Brown and freshman Ashley Perez contributed to a 10-2 run to finish the half with a 34-20 lead.
“The first four minutes and the last four minutes were really critical for us to push the game open heading in to the half,” coach Tartamella noted after the game. “And like I told Ashley Perez, you may have only played three minutes, but you played a great three minutes and made a big shot for us.”
The Red Storm continued to roll by the Scarlet Knights’ defense in the second half as they were able to extend the lead to 21 within the first 8 minutes.
While Nadira McKenith and Handford continued to put up numbers for St. John’s, senior Shenneika Smith struggled, shooting only 1 for 8.
“Earlier in the season, we may not have been able to recover if Shenneika didn’t have a great game,” Tartamella said. “But now Shenneika understands that the players around her can pick her up and the others around her rally to get them going.”
The second half of the game was scrappy, as each team fouled over 10 times and Mary Nwachukwu was called for a technical foul for throwing an elbow.
The Red Storm were more efficient from the line, going 19 for 26 the entire game. They were able to hold a solid lead throughout the rest of the game and did not give Rutgers a chance to get back in.
St. John’s will begin their final road trip of the regular season when they play Villanova on Feb