After unveiling last year’s Sweet 16 banner, the No. 20/18 St. John’s women’s basketball team (2-1) took an early lead against Hofstra and never looked back, winning 73-47 at Carnesecca Arena on Saturday afternoon.
“We were pretty excited about the way we were able to finish the game today,” said St. John’s head coach Joe Tartamella. “We held Hofstra to 16 points in the second half. From a defensive standpoint, we did a great job of what we game-planned for all week. Our staff is happy with the effort the team gave today and how they executed what we talked about all week.”
Shenneika Smith scored 18 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, helping her team with her second consecutive double-double.
“Every week we have a few goals that we try to do, and this week we focused on rebounding,” said Smith. “So being that I’m a bigger guard, I just tried help the post players rebound.”
Nadirah McKenith, who had an extremely efficient game, shooting 7-10 from the field, 9-12 from the free throw line and 1-1 from behind the arc, also added 24 points and six boards.
Whether she’s finishing a layup, dishing the ball to a teammate or drawing a foul, good things usually happen for the Lady Johnnies when McKenith drives to the hoop.
“I was just trying to go out there and make a play for my team,” said McKenith. “I was trying to get my teammates involved first, but things opened up for me to score so I was able to attack the basket.”
Having lost to Hofstra by nine last season, the Red Storm were pleased to get a little payback.
“No one wants to lose,” said Smith. “So when you get the opportunity to play a team again you just go back to what know that you didn’t do as well.”
The Red Storm’s biggest assignment was stopping Shante Evans, the powerful Hofstra forward who, like Smith and McKenith, was named to the Naismith Trophy early season watch list.
Mary Nwachukwu and other St. John’s bigs were able to hold Evans to just 12 points before the Hofstra star fouled out with five minutes remaining in the game.
Hofstra head coach Krista Kilburn-Stevensky was admittedly frustrated with the way her team played.
“We had a big misunderstanding about what the guards are supposed to do in the offense,” said Kilburn-Stevensky. “From the first tip we’re not running the tempo.”