Women’s Basketball Overcomes Slow Start to Defeat Howard

The St. John’s women’s basketball team got head coach Kim Barnes Arico her 250th victory as a head coach in front of the home crowd at Carnesecca Arena, as the Red Storm defeated Howard, 63-48.


St. John’s (4-3) struggled mightily in the first half, trailing 27-21 at halftime. Following the break however, the squad came out on fire, doubling their 21 first half points while shooting 60.9% from the field. Barnes Arico tried to keep from getting too down on her team during halftime.


“It’s easy to get negative and one of the most important things in dealing with the team’s inexperience and youth is keeping them positive. We’ve had some stumbling blocks with playing without a starter and coming off of this emotional trip. So much of their game is based off of their confidence.”


A big reason the Johnnies were able to survive the first have woes was thanks to the play of Eugeneia McPherson. McPherson hit a three pointer with 12:25 to go in the second half to pull the Red Storm to within one, at 36-35, and finished the game with a team high 16 points and six rebounds.


“I get more confident and confidence is a big key to my game,” McPherson said. If I don’t have any confidence, my game struggles. My jump shot hasn’t been falling since the beginning of the season, but I’m still working on it so hopefully I’ll improve.”


St. John’s took advantage of their edge inside, outscoring Howard 34-10 in the paint while also grabbing 13 offensive rebounds.


Although the Red Storm only committed two fewer turnovers, with 12, they were able to convert the other teams mistakes into points, scoring 17 points off of the takeaways compared to just eight by the Bison.


Shenneika Smith picked up her second double-double of the season, pulling down 11 rebounds and scoring 10 points. This came just two games since she recorded her first double-double of the year, a contest in which she grabbed a career high 21 rebounds.


The team has been without senior forward Da’Shena Stevens all season as she recovers from knee surgery. Redshirt sophomore forward Mary Nwachukwu also missed the game against Howard because of personal reasons.


“If we just keep chipping away and trying to improve, we might not have immediate success with the kind of losses that we’ve had so early in terms of our personnel,” she said. “But with all the turmoil we’ve been through, if we keep improving and get all those pieces back healthy, we can finish the year reaching our goals.”


St. John’s will look to get their third straight victory when they host Hartford on Dec. 4.