On a day of landmarks set and streaks preserved, women’s basketball coach Kim Barnes Arico was only concerned about one thing.
“We’re happy to get out of here with the win,” she said.
Angela Clark scored her 1,000th career point and the team improved to 8-0 at home (5-0 at Carnesecca Arena, 2-0 at MSG) in its 74-69 victory over West Virginia. St. John’s improves to 17-3 overall and 7-2 within the conference, its best start since the 1983-1984 season.
Despite starting the game without both Kia Wright and Clark because they missed the morning shoot-around at Carnesecca Arena, St. John’s started off hot.
Shooting 66 percent in the first half, the Red Storm was led by Greeba Barlow (14 points).
Confidence, the team agreed, played a large role in getting off to 14-10 advantage without its two star players.
“They have a lot of confidence in each other after those victories early on,” said Barnes Arico. “They came out ready to play.”
Wright entered the game at 13:53 and was effective immediately.
Clark and Wright finished with 19 points apiece.
With the game tied at 16, Wright sunk a three-pointer to put St. John’s up.
She followed this up with another three and back-to-back layups.
Despite her efforts, West Virginia retaliated.
They kept the game close with help from Britney Davis-White (18 points) and Meg Bulger (14 points).
St. John’s finished on a 14-6 run to end the first half to pad its lead.
The second half was another closely contested battle that featured West Virginia getting as much as one point ahead of the Red Storm.
“They came back but we didn’t let them get over the edge,” Barnes Arico said.
With 4:54 left it seemed that the Mountaineers last hopes were falling along with their star guard Bulger.
She suffered a badly twisted knee on a fall during a play and had to be taken out of the game.
Down 64-58 and without its star player, West Virginia was still not ready to concede the game, tying the game at 64 two minutes later.
It seemed as if the Mountaineers were re-energized by the injury to Bulger but with 1:23 left in the game and the pep band playing Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” the St. John’s women put West Virginia to sleep.
“I knew this was going to be a tough game for us,” said Barnes Arico. “We didn’t play great but we did some really nice things down the end. We made some big shots.”