Red Storm knocks off BC Eagles before its loss in the Elite Eight

Kia Wright’s last game at Carnesecca Arena was history in the making.

The senior guard led the Red Storm to a convincing 65-56 victory over the Boston College Golden Eagles in the third round of the WNIT tournament, propelling her team to the WNIT quarterfinals – the furthest St. John’s has ever gotten in a national tournament under Kim Barnes-Arico.

The Red Storm jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, forcing 10 turnovers from BC in the first half alone.
“I thought we set the tone from the beginning of the game,” said head coach Kim Barnes-Arico. “It was the hardest and toughest game we’ve played.”

Senior Tiina Sten, also playing in her last game at Carnesecca Arena, gave a solid first-half performance, turning in five points, a steal, and a block.

By the 5:33 mark in the first half, the Red Storm took a 27-17 lead off a three-pointer by Monique McLean, who led all scorers with 21 points. St. John’s extended its lead to 39-25 at the end of the half with a last-minute bank-in shot by Reece Mitchell.

BC came out strong in the second half, though, periodically edging into the Red Storm lead. Golden Eagles center Carolyn Swords, who led her team with 14 points and seven rebounds, knocked down a jumper at the 10:26 mark to cut the lead 48-41.

“In the second half we need to learn how to put people away a little bit, but we were a little tight,” Barnes-Arico said.

But the lead would never dwindle to less than seven, as the Red Storm picked it up when it had to. Wright scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half, and the team went 5-of-6 from the free-throw line at the end of the game to clinch the victory.
“I just wanted to keep being aggressive,” Wright said. “I told all my teammates that.”

With the win, St. John’s moved on to the Elite Eight of the WNIT, a significant achievement for a team that held an 8-20 overall record last year.

After the game, coach Barnes-Arico had her eyes set solely on NC State – the Red Storm’s quarterfinal opponent and a team that St. John’s beat early in
the season.

“They’ll want that rematch on their home court,” Barnes-Arico said. “But at least we have the confidence [from earlier in the season] to beat them.”

In Wright’s final game on her home court she continued to do the small things she’s always done. She led the Red Storm in minutes and got to the line for 11 free-throw attempts. She also managed five rebounds, the second highest total among the Storm.

Barnes-Arico was impressed overall with the Big East’s performance in both the NCAA Tournament and WNIT, noting that it spoke a lot about St. John’s.

“It says a heck of a lot about our conference to have two teams in the final eight of the WNIT,” she said.