Red Storm Number 60 in UConn’s Winning Streak

Trailing 10-6 with 14 minutes remaining in the first half, the St. John’s women’s basketball team looked like they would give the No. 1 ranked Connecticut Huskies a battle for 40 minutes.

That thought changed after the first media timeout, as UConn (21-0, 8-0) closed the first half with a 37-17 run to take a commanding 47-23 lead into halftime, and went on to defeat the Johnnies (8-13, 2-8) by a final score of 87-46 in front of 4,195 at Alumni Hall last night.

The win was Connecticut’s 60th straight win, tying the University of San Francisco’s men’s team for the second-longest streak in college basketball history.

Second chances were the name of the game during the first half, as the Huskies grabbed 10 offensive rebounds, resulting in nine second-chance points.

“They just did a tremendous job on the boards. They never stopped,” St. John’s Head Coach Barnes Arico said. “They just kept going and going until they got a rebound.”

“We pride ourselves on rebounding, and I think we did a great job of getting second shots,” UConn junior All-American Diana Taurasi said. “I think that’s when you can start to control tempo. When you’re getting good looks and at the same time when you’re missing them, you have people rebounding and that just makes it a little easier.”

Junior Shemika Stevens paced the Red Storm in the first half, scoring nine points on four-of-six shooting.

Taurasi and Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year Ann Strother led the first-half attack for UConn, scoring eight and nine points, respectively.

St. John’s only shot 33 percent from the field, which was a by-product of Connecticut’s relentless defensive pursuit.

“Their defense was unbelievable,” Barnes Arico commented. “I thought their speed on the defensive end was very impressive.”

The second frame brought with it a familiar tune as St. John’s duplicated its first half output of 23 points, while Connecticut added 40 more points to the scoreboard.

Danielle Rainey led St. John’s with 14 points, while Stevens finished with 13.

“I mean when you play against a team like that, you have nothing to lose,” Rainey said. “It’s a great opportunity. Not everyone gets to play the No. 1 team in the country.

“Right now, our goal is just to get in the Big East Tournament,” Rainey added. “When you’re in the tournament, it’s a whole different ballgame.”

UConn had five players in double figures, with freshman Jessica Moore leading the way with 16 points.

Although the team has a losing record, there has been a dramatic improvement from a season ago. Last year, the Johnnies were 3-18, 0-10 in conference, at the 21-game mark.

“We didn’t have a Big East win last year, so I think the program is definitely moving in the right direction,” Barnes Arico said.