Women’s hoops takes opener

November 16, 2008

The St. John’s women’s basketball team sent the fans home happy in their regular season opener.

In what was opening night at the newly-renovated Carnessecca Arena, the Red Storm defense was the key factor in their 70-52 victory over Northeastern.

“That’s one of the things we stressed,” head coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “We knew that we could pressure them, but pretty much the whole game we were able to lock them up, we thought our defensive pressure would really give them problems.”

That defensive pressure came in all shapes and forms as the Red Storm showed full-court man-to-man pressure, full-court zone pressure and half-court man-to-man. Overall, their defense led to 16 Huskies turnovers and a team field goal percentage of 31 percent.

At times, the Red Storm looked a little sluggish as they turned the ball over 15 times and only shot 64 percent from the free throw line. That sluggishness was countered by a solid all around effort by forward Joy McCorvey. McCorvey had 15 points and 12 rebounds, both of which were game highs. In addition, she shot 7 for 10 from the field.

“It’s all about being focused,” McCorvey said. “The team had a lot of energy during shoot around, we were all focused, we were all ready. We just come out and we play and give it all you got and at the end of the game if you give it all you got you get good results.”

In addition to McCorvey, the Red Storm had a very even scoring attack as Kelly McManmon netted 13 points, Sky Lindsay and Coco Hart dropped eight each and freshman Da’ Shena Stevens added seven points and eight boards in her collegiate debut.

“It’s funny because towards the end of the game I was thinking in my mind I don’t know who led our team in scoring,” Barnes Arico said. “I think that says a lot about our team.”

Senior Monique McLean struggled in the first half as she had only points on two of five shooting, but she found her rhythm in the second half and finished the game with 13 points to go along with seven boards and four assists.

“She did a great job of passing the ball in the first half,” Barnes Arico said. “She made some big plays where she probably could have taken it herself and passed it, that shows her maturity as a player a little bit.”

With most of the men’s basketball team watching, the Red Storm led by 10 at the half but thanks to a strong start out of the break they were able to push the lead to 20 with 12 minutes to go, their largest lead in the game. From then on out the game was in the hands of the Red Storm.

“Coach told us first four minutes in the second half is the most important thing so we just wanted to come out and get on them early,” said McLean.

Barnes Arico played nine players but mainly used a seven-player rotation, using freshmen Da’ Shena Stevens and Brittany Murphy off the bench. Murphy, also making her collegiate debut had a solid effort of the defensive end.

“We set that level tonight,” McCorvey said. “All we can do from here on is just pick it up every game, give a little bit more, a little bit more.”