Online Exclusive: Women’s basketball edged by Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – It was the small things that cost St. John’s women’s basketball its first Big East game of the season Saturday, but then, it’s those same small things that differentiate the ranked teams from those that are unranked.

“Their [defense] is extremely good and we had a tough time scoring in spurts,” said St. John’s head coach Kim Barnes-Arico.

St. John’s came out flying early in the contest, jumping out to a 12-5 lead just minutes into the game. Although the Johnnies were shooting over 60 percent with a little under ten minutes left in the first half, the Red Storm finished the half shooting just over 34 percent.

“I was happy [about us being in the game],” said Monique McLean, who recorded 13 points and five assists. “I wanted to stay focused and to keep pushing.”

Kia Wright, still playing through injury, showed signs of soreness while playing the full 40 minutes en route to putting up nine points and nine assists.

Receee Mitchell went down about ten minutes into the second half with a knee injury, which will further be evaluated in Queens, and Rutgers proceeded to go on a six-point run to extend its lead to 45-35.

With the crowd at the RAC getting into the game late, St. John’s shooting from the field dropped to 31 percent for the half despite shooting just over 42 percent from three-point range.

“The more we’re in that [pressure] situation, the more confidant we’ll become,” Barnes-Arico said.

Although trailing for the entire second half, St. John’s was down by no more than ten points as it looked to regain the lead.

“We let up late and they took advantage of it,” Barnes-Arico said. “We played them tough.”

Rutgers kept the Red Storm in the game with porous free throw shooting in the closing minutes, as the usually sure-handed Essence Carson was only able to sink one shot after being fouled from behind the arc and sank only two shots in four other opportunities she had.

While the score remained close, St. John’s was unable to capitalize on the opporuntiy.

“We can play with teams like this but we need to get over that hump,” McLean said.