That’s what the St. John’s women’s basketball team showed in last Saturday’s 69-54 loss at the hands of the Miami Hurricanes (14-7, 6-4).
After a poor first half and being down by as many as 31 points, the Red Storm (8-14, 2-9) refused to go away.
They outscored the Hurricanes 23-7 over the last eight minutes, including a 12-0 run to finish the game.
While the strong effort was not enough to overcome a 43-19 halftime deficit, St. John’s Head Coach Kim Barnes Arico was happy with her teams late surge.
“We were really proud that we finished the game the way we did. We could have totally packed it in and it would have been a 50-point game,” Barnes Arico said. “Our effort and intensity made it a 15-point game instead of a 50-point game.”
During the second half the Johnnies shot 45 percent from the field and were able to get easy baskets. In the process, they held the Hurricanes to just 35 percent shooting.
Shemika Stevens poured in eight of her team-high 14 points and grabbed four of her seven rebounds during the team’s late run.
Also leading St. John’s was freshman guard Dana Peterson, who in her first career start recorded seven points, three boards and two assists.
Barnes Arico had high praise for both Stevens and Peterson.
“Shemika is our most consistent performer. She has to run the team from the point, score and defend. She has really stepped up to meet the challenge,” Barnes Arico said. “Dana just gave us great minutes Saturday. We put her on Miami’s best player and for the first seven minutes the girl didn’t touch the ball.”
Even with the play of Stevens and Peterson, as well as the second half surge, the game was lost in the first half.
The Hurricanes opened the game with a 23-6 run and shoot a blistering 52 percent. Miami’s Tamara James scored a game-high 18 points and Chanivia Broussard added 16.
Yet St. John’s biggest enemy may have been themselves. In the first half the Red Storm had trouble getting shots to fall and played without their leading scorer, Danielle Rainey, who missed the game due to personal reasons.
“We obviously missed her scoring, but other teams also make such a conscious effort to guard her that it gives other people some scoring opportunities,” Barnes Arico said. “She was definitely missed.”
On top of the poor shooting the Johnnies committed 32 turnovers that led to 28 Miami points.
Reka Szavuly and Patrycja Gulak also had strong games.
Szavuly was the Red Storm’s only other player in double figures posting 10 points, including three three-point field goals. Gulak recorded eight points to go along with seven rebounds.
Even with the loss Barnes Arico still believes there is something positive to take away from this game.
“We know that if we fight hard every minute games are going to be a little bit closer and we might have an opportunity to win it,” said Barnes Arico.
The Red Storm look to make a final push towards the Big East Tournament as they return home Feb. 19 to play Rutgers.