Maybe all the St. John’s women’s basketball team needed to gain their first win of the season in Big East play was a solid opponent. The Red Storm (5-10 overall, 1-3 Big East) visited Pittsburgh on Jan. 13, who are nationally ranked at 23rd, as underdogs with nothing to lose. St. John’s left with a throwback-style, eyebrow-raising 76-69 victory.
The undermanned St. John’s squad, who have been hampered by injuries since even before the season, impeding what was otherwise expected to be successful season much like last year’s campaign, fought hard from the opening tip.
The Red Storm was led by their only senior and Big East standout Kia Wright, who posted a double-double (her first of the season) with 23 points and 10 assists.
However it was not only Wright who controlled the Pittsburgh defense, as four different players got to double digits in points. St. John’s was also in sync defensively, as each player who touched the floor got a board. Pittsburgh’s porous free throw shooting (55-percent), coupled with the Red Storm’s excellent percentage from behind the arc (53.8-percent), also helped the cause.
After a shocking first half for Pittsburgh, the Panthers battled back from an 11-point deficit to start the second half and knot the game at 61. Although the momentum had shifted, the resilient Red Storm persevered in front of an announced attendance of 5,712. Wright’s leadership proved invaluable as she assisted on a crucial basket by Angel Tate that put St. John’s up for good.
In addition to the strong outing by Wright (who, at game’s end, was just 18 points shy of 1,000 for her collegiate career), sophomore Angel Tate executed what was perhaps the most complete performance of her career with 17 points, nine rebounds, and two assists. Guard Monique McLean also had significant contributions, recording 14 points, six rebounds, and four assists.