Cardinals Knock Johnnies Out

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Torch Photo/Diana Colapietro

Nadirah McKenith dribbles the ball up the court at Carnesecca Arena.

The St. John’s women’s basketball team crashed out of the Big East tournament on Sunday after falling to Louisville 62-55 in a quarterfinal matchup.

Even more disappointing than the loss, the Red Storm (18-12, 11-5) were forced to watch one of its most vital players leave the court due to injury when senior Nadirah McKenith went off after hitting her head.

“I don’t have an update,” said St. John’s head coach Joe Tartamella. “I think Nadirah turned and ran into somebody and I think it kind of jarred her a little bit. I think she checked her nose, her nose was fine as far as I know.”

The Johnnies came out flat and fell behind the Cardinals (24-7, 11-5) 15-2 in the first four minutes of play and shot 0 for 4 while turning the ball over five times.Amber Thompson got the Johnnies’ first field goal seven minutes in, which sparked the team’s offense.

“I thought we did a great job of fighting back after a slow start and I’m proud of the way we were able to get back into the game,” Tartamella told reporters.

Thompson’s affect on the game gave the Johnnies a boost and kept the Cardinal offense at bay for a portion of the first half.

“We just took one possession at a time,” senior Shenneika Smith told reporters. “We kept our composure, we have been down like this before and we kept each possession and tried to be successful and play defense.”

Despite the Johnnies firm first half, the Cardinals proved to be a step quicker in the second half, not allowing the
Johnnies to take back the lead. Smith finished the game with a team-high 19 points while McKenith added 18.

With no games remaining until the NCAA tournament, the Johnnies will be hoping that they’ve accomplished enough this season to earn an at-large bid. Carnesecca Arena will host the first two rounds of the NCAA women’s
tournament.