HARTFORD, Conn. – St. John’s knew that it would have its hands full with Louisville’s Angel McCoughtry. That doesn’t mean the Red Storm was able to do anything about it. McCoughtry posted 25 points Saturday to lead Louisville past St. John’s in the first round of the Big East Tournament, spurring a late run that allowed the Cardinals to pull away and secure the win. “Angel McCoughtry single handedly took over the game,” St. John’s coach Kim Barnes-Arico said after her team’s 63-47 loss. “She’s a special kid and she’s shown that once again.”
McCoughtry – who many believe was snubbed of Big East Player of the Year after UConn’s Maya Moore was presented the award on Friday – played with a vengeance in the second half after posting just six points in the first 20 minutes.
“I’m not worried about winning [individual] awards,” McCoughtry said. “I’m worried about winning the Big East Championship.”Louisville coach Jeff Walz played McCoughtry just 21 minutes after the freshman got into foul trouble in the first half.
“It should be encouraging to our players that we can go out and win a basketball game if Angel isn’t getting a lot of minutes,” Walz said.
St. John’s was looking to avenge a loss to Louisville last month, when the Cardinals blew out the Red Storm at Carnesecca Arena. Akin to the first contest, the Johnnies stayed with the Cardinals through the first half, trailing by two after a sloppy first half.
“I think tonight was a tale of two halves,” Walz said. “In the first half both teams did a good job of making [the game] ugly.”The second half was close for the first 10 minutes, but an 11-2 run put Louisville up for good.
“I think we hung tough for a period of time there but Louisville overmatched us,” Barnes-Arico said.
“In the second half we got a little bit of a flow going,” Walz said.
St. John’s struggled offensively as Monique McLean was the only player in double-digits with 16 points. As a team the Johnnies shot just 30 percent from the floor, including a dismal 8 percent from behind the arc.
Aside from McCoughtry, Louisville received strong efforts offensively from Candyce Bingham and Chauntise Wright, who recorded 13 and 10 points, respectively.
For St. John’s, all eyes will be on the television on Selection Sunday this weekend, where the Red Storm will hope that its RPI, which received a major boost last week with an upset win over Notre Dame, will be enough to push it into the WNIT.”We hope we have a great shot for the WNIT,” Barnes-Arico said.
Whether or not Kia Wright’s collegiate basketball career continues will be up to the selection committee when it selects the eligible teams this weekend.
“We still have a chance to keep playing,” she said.