Storm eliminated from WNIT

March 26, 2009

Despite its valiant second half effort, St. John’s WNIT run came to an end Thursday night as Boston College muscled its way to a 68-64 win at Carnesecca Arena.

Eagles forward Stefanie Murphy scored a season-high 23 points and recorded 10 rebounds for what would be her second consecutive double double. She had eight of Boston College’s 15 offensive boards as the Eagles outrebounded the Red Storm 43-32.

“Tonight we reaped the benefits of her hard work,” said Boston College head coach Sylvia Crawley, whose team will move on to play on the road Sunday at Georgetown.

The Eagles established its post presence early, scoring its first six points of the game in the post after winning the opening tip.

“They were very physical,” St. John’s coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “They came at us right from the start.”

With 4:30 remaining in the first half and leading 25-19, Murphy was fouled on a lay-up attempt by Kelly McManmon. Upon missing the free throw, forward Carolyn Swords grabbed the offensive rebound and made the put-back lay-in.

That was the kind of the night Boston College had inside; rebounds galore and plenty of second-chance opportunities.

The 6-4 Murphy and 6-6 Swords each patrolled the paint, scoring a combined 32 points. Boston College had 36 points in the paint for the game.

Though the Red Storm was thrown around like a rag doll, the Johnnies fought back in the second half with their shooting. The Red Storm shot over 50 percent in the second half on 17-32 field goal attempts.

The St. John’s offense exploded as the Red Storm went on an 11-2 run with just over 13 minutes remaining to cut a 13-point Boston College lead to within four points on an Aricia Mitchell jumper. Mitchell finished 4-8 from the field with 9 points in 16 minutes of containing Murphy and Swords.

But every time St. John’s would begin to mount a comeback, Boston College’s post presence would not seem to go away.

“Every time we did start to get something going and our offense did start working, they’d go back down and score, so it still evened out,” Sky Lindsay said. Lindsay finished with 16 points on 7-13 shooting, and made big shots in slicing the Eagles’ deficits.

Murphy remained in the game even after recording four fouls midway through the second half and opened up shooters like Jaclyn Thoman, whose 10 points on 4-6 shooting, including a perfect 2-2 from three-point range, put the dagger in any kind of Red Storm comeback.

“We had a tough time scoring tonight, even when we’d make runs we just couldn’t get our offensive flow going,” Barnes Arico said.

Though the Red Storm struggled to maintain a consistent offensive attack, they still managed to find themselves within five points with fifteen seconds left in the game. A three-pointer by Britney Murphy brought the game within two.

But a lapse in defense on the ensuing possession allowed Boston College a two-on-none advantage as Thoman took the ball in for the easy lay-up, putting the lead, and the Elite Eight, out of the Red Storm’s reach for good.