The St. John’s women’s basketball team turned in a strong defensive performance on the road Jan. 21, defeating Cincinnati, 51-34 at Fifth Third Arena.
Cincinnati (9-10, 0-6) scored just 14 points in the first half, shooting 6-21 from the field and missing all four three-point attempts. The Bearcats didn’t score their first field goal until the 12:51 mark of the first half.
The Red Storm (13-7, 5-2) started the game on an 8-1 run, and kept their foot on the pedal, going on a 12-0 run late in the first half.
During that run, Cincinnati went six minutes without a field goal, helping the Johnnies to a 32-14 halftime lead.
Nadirah McKenith had all eight of her points in the first. She also finished the game with six rebounds.
The second half was even more of a defensive struggle, as neither team topped 20 points. The lack of scoring put more pressure on St. John’s defense.
“I feel like we go through spurts where we have a difficult time scoring. If that’s the case, we’ve got to be pretty darn good defensively,” head coach Kim Barnes Arico said.
Barnes Arico has stressed the importance of free throw shooting all season. The Johnnies were 11-of-16 from the charity stripe. Cincinnati shot just 6-of-14 from the line.
“The strength of our team is our ability to slash and get to the free throw line,” Barnes Arico said.
Despite a field goal percentage of 24 percent in the second half, the Johnnies were able to get their points by drawing fouls and getting to the line. “Even when we weren’t able to score, we were able to draw fouls,” Barnes Arico said.
Three St. John’s players scored in double digits. Junior guard Shenneika Smith had a game-high 11 points, while junior guard Eugeneia McPherson scored in the double digits for the 14th straight game. She hit two three-pointers, the only two St. John’s hit from beyond the arc.
Da’Shena Stevens also scored 10 points, and grabbed 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season.
St. John’s has been victorious in six of its last seven games with the only loss in that span coming against Marquette.
St. John’s returns to action Jan. 28, when they host No. 2 Notre Dame at Carnesecca Arena. The Red Storm have already been able to upset two other ranked Big East opponents at home, most recently No. 7 Rutgers.