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

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Which Red Storm basketball team had the better 2004-2005 season?

Success can be viewed in many ways. But no matter how you view what the St. John’s women’s basketball team accomplished last season, you do not have to look very hard to see why it was a phenomenal year.

If you turn your head around and peer into the program’s barren past you will notice why it was more than a great season, it was a special one. You will also see why this argument is not even a contest.

The men’s basketball team, under new head coach Norm Roberts, took a step forward from the muck left over from the scandal ridden and team-depleting season of 2003-2004.

The women’s team, over the last three seasons under head coach Kim Barnes Arico, has already taken that step and even a few leaps. Last season was the last stage of the rebuilding the men’s program is now undergoing.

The women’s team, which was 3-24 when Barnes Arico was hired, has begun to blossom while the men have just begun their rebirth.

The women’s basketball team’s season was one many Division I programs would hope for and even dream of. The Red Storm had a perfect record of 11-0 in non-conference play, the best start in program history.

During that span, St. John’s won back to back tournaments, defeated an AAC team in Georgia Tech and beat Holy Cross, the eventual Patriot League Champion and a NCAA tournament participant.

St. John’s had won more games at that point in the season than they had all of last season when they finished with 10 wins, as many has they had the two years before that combined and more wins than the men had each of the last two seasons.

The program, led by their top two scorers, point guard Kia Wright and forward Angela Clark, had high hopes entering Big East play.

While they were unable to vault St. John’s into the ranks of the nation’s top programs or the NCAA tournament, they won 20 games and accomplished more than any St. John’s women’s team had in 18 years.

That is more than you can say about the men’s team this season.

The Red Storm women finished with a 7-9 conference record, good enough for sixth place in the Big East and their second straight appearance in the conference tournament.

St. John’s continued to get thumped by the Big East’s top teams like Connecticut (60-32) and Rutgers (64-49), but on Feb. 5 they got what had been missing from their season’s résumé –– a statement win.

St. John’s beat then-No. 16 Boston College 69-52 on the road on that date. It was the program’s first victory over a ranked opponent since 1993.

Granted, the men’s team, which won just nine games, had a number of unexpected wins that included victories over then-No. 16 N.C. State to win the ECAC Holiday Festival and then-No. 23 Pittsburgh as well.

But this is also the same program that has lost 19 straight road games and has not won a game away from Madison Square Garden or Carnesecca Arena since Nov. 29, a 72-61 win at Stony Brook.

Not only did the women’s team defeat a ranked opponent, they did it on Boston College’s home court.

The women’s team’s performance during the season, which included a first round Big East tournament win over Seton Hall, before losing to Rutgers 69-45, was enough to put them on the bubble of a NCCA tournament bid and earn them a berth in the WNIT.

Not bad for to team that just three years ago according to Barnes Arico was voted the worst women’s college basketball team in the country by a college basketball website.

Making the WNIT and the team’s 48-42 first round win over Colonial Athletic Association regular season champion Delaware, marked the first time in 17 years St. John’s played pasted the Big East tournament and had won a national postseason game.

The Storm’s season would end with a heart-breaking 68-63 loss to West Virginia, a team that soundly beat St. John’s 84-65 during the regular season.

As the team had done throughout the year they had grown and shown improvement, for which Barnes Arico was honored as Coach of the Year by the Basketball Coaches Association of New York.

You could have an argument if you were comparing the men’s season with the women’s team’s performance a year ago.

But when a team works its way from being 3-24 just three short years ago to a 20-win season and a victory in national postseason tournament game it can not be compared to a nine win rebuilding season, no matter how dark things looked for them a year ago.

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