Coming off a tough loss at Rutgers on Feb. 1, it took Greeba Barlow only four seconds to erase any possibility of a losing streak for the St. John’s women’s basketball team.
Scoring the first two points at 19:56 on a jumper, the senior led the way to a Red Storm 78-71 victory over South Florida on Sunday at Carnesecca Arena.
“We couldn’t dwell on Rutgers,” she said. “So we put that behind us and concentrated on this game. It’s just as important.”
Barlow led the team with 20 points, also a career high.
“I didn’t even know about my career highs,” she said. “I wasn’t worried.”
After St. John’s jumped out to a quick 5-0 start, the Bulls battled back and kept it close through the first half, thanks in part to the efforts of Jessica Dickson, the nation’s leading scorer
“We were concerned about her,” St. John’s coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “[But] we made her take some tough shots [and] we made her miss some shots.”
Dickson finished with a team-high 18 points.
As the first half wound down, the Red Storm was able to distance itself a bit more in the last second as freshman Lisa Claxton stole the ball from Nalini Miller and made a quick pass to junior Angela Clark who put it up for two of her 16 total points.
The second half saw St. John’s get a 7-2 run at 10:36 to give the team a 58-51 lead.
The momentum appeared to be going the Red Storm’s way until, with 2:50 left, Clark slipped and had to be carried off the court with an ankle injury.
When asked about her star forward, Barnes Arico said, “She’s been injured all year, so hopefully she’ll be able to bounce back.”
Barlow added: “We knew we had to stick it out and concentrate on winning the game and that’s what we did.”
St. John’s (18-4, 8-3) still had a healthy lead but it appeared to be slipping away. With only 50 seconds left, Shantia Grace hit a jumper and South Florida (15-8, 5-5) creeped to within five.
However, with 42 seconds left, the Bulls fouled the wrong person as Barlow stepped to the line and cemented a St. John’s win by sinking her two free throws.
It was her final two points in an impressive outing.
The win makes St. John’s 4-0 after losses.
“We’ve done a great job of coming back after tough losses all year long,” Barnes Arico said.
The St. John’s women are off to their best start in more then two decades. What’s the team’s secret to success?
“Just one game at a time,” says Barnes Arico. “We can’t get ahead of ourselves.”