Despite playing the whole first half with a lead, the St. John’s women’s basketball team fell to Providence 93-77 on Saturday.
St. John’s (7-15, 3-8 Big East) junior guard Kia Wright led the Red Storm with 19 points and six assists. Sophomore guard Monique McLean only connected on two-of-12 from the field but finished strong with a double-double scoring 15 points, shooting 11-of-13 from the stripe and grabbing 10 boards. Four of the starting five scored numbers in the double-digits.
However, the offensive efforts of Wright and company were not good enough, as St. John’s could not get stops on the defensive side of the floor.
Providence (13-11, 3-8) snapped a seven-game losing streak, coming back from down in the second half. The Friars scored 53 of its total points in the second half, changing the beat of their offensive drum and finding a sweet spot inside, scoring 40 points in the paint.
Friar sophomore guard Chelsea Marandola connected on eight-of-11 shooting and finished with 19 points and grabbed six rebounds. Another huge contributor was sophomore guard Catherine Bove who had 17 points and grabbed 14 boards.
“We stopped playing, we let up and their intensity was much higher than ours. And, that’s how we got down,” Wright said of the lead change. “We made a lot of mistakes on defense and weren’t hitting shots on offense.”
The Friars beat the Red Storm off the glass grabbing 47 boards compared to the 39 by St. John’s. Providence kept finding holes in the defense to penetrate to the low post for easy deuces.
Their overall inside-outside game could not be answered, as momentum shifted the other way in favor of the Friars.
Friars sophomore guard Kendria Holmes, who finished with 10 points and seven assists, nailed a jumper to put Providence up by one at the 12:21 mark of the second half 58-59. The Red Storm came back quickly, tying it minutes later at 62. But Providence would go on a 17-1 run to put them ahead for good.
The Friars had brought the lead up to as much as 17 at the 3:26 mark, and although the Red Storm tried to come back from under, they could not get the spark they needed to get out of the double-digit deficit.
Providence benefited from a 34-point contribution from their bench and converted 12 turnovers into 24 points, averaging a basket a turnover.
“I think they just out-worked us. They hustled, they out-rebounded us, they were after every loose ball,” said coach Kim Barnes Arico. “They were able to score. We relaxed on the defensive end and we didn’t play the way we came out of the gates.”
The Red Storm played a great first half, executing and hustling on both sides of the floor. They dominated the first half until late. St. John’s, who led by 18 at the 5:52 mark of the first half, saw it slowly chip away with a 21-5 run by Providence down the stretch, sparked by a three ball by Bove at the 5:27 mark and ending with a fast break lay-up by freshmen guard Brittany Dorsey with one second remaining. The first half closed 44-42, Red Storm.
St. John’s plays again on Wednesday, for a Valentine’s Day road game against Marquette. They will return home next Saturday against Cincinnati.
“We can’t look back, we have to look forward,” Wright said. “This game is over with and we just have to practice and work hard and prepare for Marquette.”