The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Red Storm Defeats Musketeers at Home, 67-55

With an energetic effort from sophomore guard Skye Owen, St. John’s was able to pull away from close quarters and get the job done.
Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan

The St. John’s Women’s Basketball team narrowly escaped a loss to an 0-9 Xavier team on Jan. 31. Stepping up to the plate for the Johnnies was sophomore guard Skye Owen, who finished with eight points, nine assists and a whole lot of energy to lift the Johnnies over the Musketeers. 

From the gate, Xavier overpowered a scrambling Red Storm that continually lost the ball, forcing 13 points off turnovers and fast breaks in the first quarter. St. John’s shot 41.7% from the field and 28.6% from three to squeeze their way to 12 points earned in the first ten minutes of play. 

Energy began to shift in the second quarter, as senior guard Unique Drake began connecting on shot opportunities she frequently missed in the first. She finished the game with 24 points and four rebounds, averaging 26 points in her last three games.

Help came from Owen and graduate forward Jillian Archer, who combined for nine assists and 14 rebounds. With Owen taking the lead at the point guard position, Drake was taking dish passes from the energetic sophomore all night long. 

“My teammates were finding me and helping me make those shots,” Drake said after the game. “I mean, Skye with those eight assists,  I’m sure she passed it to me a couple of times.”  

At the half, the Red Storm was an inch ahead of Xavier, 30-27. Despite a first quarter that was not in their favor, they dug deep in their pocket to finish it out and head into the locker room on top. Senior guard Ber’Nyah Mayo helped aid some of the efforts with seven points, three assists and five rebounds. 

Sophomore guard Tara Daye had an “off night,” as Coach Tartamella described it. She received  only 14 minutes of play, tallying four fouls, two rebounds and zero points on the night. Tartamella credited Owen with stepping up in her absence. 

“Today, she was under control, she was focussed,” he said. “When she does that she’s got a chance to be a terrific player for us.” 

Tartamella commended her aggressiveness on the attack, using her speed up and down the court, and not pulling the ball out when she had an open lane.

“She made a beautiful pass to Jillian, and a beautiful pass to Unique at one point,” he said. “So she had it all kind of going today, which was great, and we needed it.” 

Difference makers are starting to step for St. John’s, and it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

The last time the Red Storm faced off against UConn – in what ended up as a “pummeling” per Tartamella’s own words – they were 10-7 overall, and 4-1 in the conference. After Wednesday night’s closely contested win against Xavier in Carnesecca Arena, they improved to 8-3 in the Big East and 14-9 overall. 

“This is probably the most interesting team I’ve coached in 12 years in terms of what they’ve been able to do and where we started,” Tartamella said. “I always thought that we could be the team that we’ve been the last two months”

“I think we found a way to connect and stay connected to it, and to be a little more organized and win this game, which was obviously not a pretty one.”

It might not be perfect on paper, but there is an energy within this Red Storm team that won’t quit. Going 3-1 in their last four games, they are set up for a tough Big East schedule ahead.  

St. John’s will face off against No.11/10 UConn on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. at Gampel Pavilion, in a matchup that Coach Tartamella seems eager for. 

“It’s one of the greatest venues in college basketball,” he finished. “[My players] are used to playing at XL. They haven’t played at Gampel, and Gampel’s different.” 

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About the Contributor
Isabella Cautero, Asst. Sports Editor
Isabella is a junior journalism student serving as an Assistant Sports Editor. She is minoring in sport management. Outside of The Torch, she likes to spend time with her friends, read, go to the gym, play with her dog and watch the New York Yankees or Rangers play. On any given day you can find her listening to her favorite artists, Taylor Swift and Harry Styles. 

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    Anthony CauteroFeb 1, 2024 at 11:13 pm

    Solid performance all around

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