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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Storm live to dance another day

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – St. John’s knows what its like to taste a bitter defeat. The Red Storm experienced it when it was upset by West Virginia in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament a little over a week ago.

 

“We don’t ever want to feel like that again,” Kia Wright said.

 

Its first round NCAA Tournament game Sunday afternoon against No. 10-seeded California seemed to be following a similar script, a poor-shooting first half, a slim halftime lead and no game-changing spark in sight.

 

Then Greeba Barlow provided it.

 

“I needed to step up,” she said. “I am a senior. I don’t want to end my career like this. I want to go out with a bang.”

 

She scored 17 of her career-high 21 points in the second half and led the St. John’s women’s basketball team to a 78-68 win at the Bryce Jordan Center. The victory was No. 7-seeded St. John’s (22-7) first since its last tournament appearance in 1988. It earned the team a date with second-seeded Maryland Tuesday night

 

“I just said pretend that we are at a dance,” Barlow said. “I just wanted to keep dancing and that’s what we’re doing.”

 

Energized by the torrid shooting of Barlow and the tenacious play of Wright, St. John’s opened up a 65-49 lead, its largest, with 7:41 left to play. The guards combined to score 19 of the team’s first 23 point in the half. Barlow connected on 7 of her 10 shots after halftime, including two three-pointers.

 

“We talk about X-factors and Greeba Barlow was an X-factor on our team,” coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “For us to be successful, we need other people to step up and have great nights for us and Greeba did that for us tonight. She was sensational.”

 

So was Kia Wright.

 

The junior guard scored a game-high 26 points and was the catalyst of a St. John’s defense that forced 15 Golden Bear turnovers. Wright also kept Alexis Gray-Lawson, the Pac-10 freshman of the year, at bay for most of the game.

 

“She played really good defense today,” said Gray-Lawson, who scored 17 points. “At the end I guess I probably started to figure out what they were doing.”

 

Ashley Walker led California (18-12) with 21 points.

 

The Golden Bears played most of the game without starting center Devanei Hampton because of foul trouble. When the 6-foot-3 freshman, who finished with 16 points, was on the floor, the Red Storm had no answer for her size and skill.

“She’s very strong and she’s a dominate player down low for them,” said Angela Clark (13 points). “She made a big difference in Cal’s game.”

 

When first-year head coach Joanne Boyle put her back in the game with four fouls and her team down 47-37 with 13:02 left in the second half, Hampton had a hand in the team’s next 11 points, scoring seven and assisting on four. She fouled out with 9:20 left.

California cut the St. John’s lead to 72-66 with 1:20 remaining, but Barlow and the rest of the Red Storm proved to be too much.

 

“Greeba [Barlow] all of a sudden
stepped up and she became a three-point shooter tonight,” Boyle said. “She’s a gamer. She’s experienced. I thought us changing defense would rattle them a little bit and they really settled into that outside shot and started hitting.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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