Storm, racked with injuries, drop exhibition

St. John’s women’s basketball is hurting. Badly.

They lost 73-65 to Team Adidas Premier Players in an exhibition match on Nov. 2. It wasn’t even the loss that hurt so much, though, as much as all of the injuries.

“Of course I’m always disappointed to lose,” said coach Kim Barnes Arico. “But I think we’ve got a lot of freshmen out there and it’s going to take some time.”

Any fans not well versed in the new recruits would probably have a hard time recognizing the team.

Many unfamiliar faces got significant playing time. Allie Patterson checked in with 27 minutes and scored six points.
Nikki Jo Rotola played for 37 minutes and scored 10 points. She racked up a game-high six assists but also showed inexperience with seven turnovers.

Of the freshmen, forward Joy McCorvey shined the brightest, scoring 12 points and grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds.
“With a lot of people out, I’m going to do my part and step up,” said McCorvey. “[I’ll] do whatever coach tells me to do and whatever my teammates need me to do.”

St. John’s opened things up with a couple of veterans. Tiina Sten and Monique McLean sunk back-to-back three-pointers in the opening minutes to give the Storm a 6-0 advantage.
Premier Players fought back, however, as Leah Matcalf hit a three of her own and followed it up with a layup.

Kia Wright entered the game while it was knotted 13-13, but even she was not able to do much as St. John’s began falling behind. In the last two minutes in the half, the Storm gave up four points on two fouls and went into the second half down 35-32.

Sten started off the second half as well, hitting a foul shot. But after back-to-back Team Adidas layups, St. John’s was down 39-33. Sten and Angel Tate followed with a six point run that tied the Storm up and Nikki Jo Rotola sunk a three to put the Johnnies ahead.

They held that lead until 12:44 when the Premier Players went on a 10-4 run. St. John’s was not able to recover as they fell behind as far as 10 points with 2:30 left in the game.
Metcalf scored a game-high 24 points, thanks in part to sinking 13 of her 16 free shots. Johnnies center Tate scored a team-high 16 points.

“I know I had a big game,” she said. “But it doesn’t feel like it.”

She was pleased with the rookies’ performances and sees the game as a learning experience. McCorvey agrees.

“I take it as a learning experience,” she said. “We’re really young. We’re going to get better.”

In time to salvage the beginning of the season?

“I don’t think it’s going to be that slow with our coaching staff,” McCorvey said. “The mistakes we made in the game, we have to work on in practice and we’ll be okay.”