After the St. John’s men’s upset over No. 9 Pittsburgh, it seemed like nothing could make the day better for the Red Storm. But Kia Wright and the women’s basketball team would not be overlooked.
With a team-leading and season-high 21 points, Wright felt right at home in her first appearance at Madison Square Garden, leading St. John’s to a 65-55 win over Villanova on Saturday.
“For New York kids to come out here and play in the Garden,” Wright said, “it’s a big accomplishment. It’s a dream to come here and play.”
The victory improves the women’s Big East record to 5-2, the best start since the 1990-1991 season.
“We’re showing the Big East that St. John’s is coming up,” said senior Greeba Barlow.
The win also makes them 2-0 in their two games at Madison Square Garden.
St. John’s (15-3, 5-2) got off to a slow start, shooting only 37 percent in the first half, but its defense was able to hold Villanova (11-6, 2-4) to an even more meager 25 percent.
St. John’s entered the second half with a 22-18 lead.
The second half showed a dramatically improved offensive team. When asked what the big difference between the first and second halves was, Barlow had this to say: “Confidence.
“Coach told us to go out with confidence and basically that’s what we did.”
Scoring nine points in the second half, 13 in total, she helped St. John’s to cruise to victory.
“We said our prayers to make our shots,” joked Barnes Arico when asked about the second-half offense (43 points) more than double the first half’s.
Angela Clark added: “What made us successful is making sure we got the easy basket – not taking difficult shots that we’re not going to make.”