Johnnies Earn Home NCAA Tourney Game

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Photo courtesy of Athletic Communications

The St. John’s women’s basketball team will be playing in its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament after receiving an at-large bid.

The No. 10 seeded Red Storm (18-12, 11-5) will face off against No. 7 seeded Dayton at Carnesecca Areana on March 24.
The Johnnies finished the regular season with an 8-2 record – their good run of form began after an early February loss to Connecticut. After that loss, at 10-10, the Red Storm’s hopes for a bid to the big dance seemed marginal, as they needed to win a majority of their remaining games to have a chance at a bid.

St. John’s head coach Joe Tartamella and his determined team believed the Connecticut loss would be the perfect game for
them to turn the corner and make themselves contenders again.

“The Uconn game showed us what we can do and gave us some confidence,” Tartamella said. “Then we were able to rattle off six in a row and from that point forward and hold our own at home and that run contributed to a better focus and chemistry on our team.”

Seniors Nadirah McKenith and Shenneika Smith, who were both named to the All-Big East First Team, will lead be expected to lead the Red Storm against Dayton.

McKenith, who became the all-time leader in assists at St. John’s this season, is one of the most efficient shooters on the team, averaging 41.3% from the field this season. She’s also the team’s leader in assists, averaging 5.5 a game.

“I’m very excited to play in my final NCAA tournament,” McKenith said. “It’s great to play at home in front of our family and friends.”

Dayton have two losses on the season coming into the tournament. They swept the Atlantic 10 during the regular season, but were upset in the semifinals of the A-10 tournament by St. Joe’s.

Similar to St. John’s, this will be the Flyers’ fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth.

The Johnnies will square off with Dayton on Sunday at Carnesecca Arena.