The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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SJU hoops going in

The St. John’s women’s basketball team made the most of its only game at Madison Square Garden on Saturday by picking up its third straight win and sixth out of their last
eight. The victory didn’t come easy, as the Red Storm squeezed a 57-55 win past
South Florida.

South Florida (11-8, 2-4) came to Madison Square Garden with two straight conference wins over Syracuse and then-No.3 Notre Dame.

The Red Storm (16-3, 4-2) had won its previous two games as well, silencing Cincinnati at Carnesecca Arena and then
snapping DePaul’s eight-game home winning streak. With both teams carrying momentum
entering the game, the Red Storm held the Bulls to just 19 points in the fi rst
half, the sixth time this season the Johnnies have held an opponent to less than 20 points in a half. While St. John’s
did end the half with a 7-2 run, Head Coach Kim Barnes Arico knew she had to switch
things up at halftime.

“We wanted to change the tempo [in the second half]” she. “We couldn’t do that
in the first half because we
couldn’t score.” St. John’s responded with a 7-0 run to start the second half and shot
44 percent from the field in
the half, compared to just 32
percent in the first. The teams
volleyed control of the lead, with four lead changes and two ties between them.

With five seconds left, the Red Storm’s Nadirah McKenith grabbed a loose ball
off a missed free throw to seal
the two-point victory.

Barnes Arico continued to
switch up the rotation, as senior
Kelly McManmon came off
the bench after starting two
games in a row. McManmon
only had six points off two
crucial three-pointers with
less than five minutes left in
the game.

Three South Florida players scored in double figures despite taking just two free throw attempts in the entire game, both coming late in the second half. Senior Jessica Lawson dominated inside with 10 points and 16 rebounds. KeNeisha Saunders led the team with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting. “[Lawson] beat me up a little bit,” said Centhya “Coco” Hart about guarding the taller, 6-foot-3 center.

“We worked all week on trying to decide which side to defend [Lawson],” said Barnes Arico. But Lawson’s outing wasn’t enough to stop the Red Storm, who had three players in double figures.

Sophomore Da’Shena Stevens led the team in scoring and rebounding, scoring 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting and pulling in eight rebounds.

“We just came off a bye week so we’ve tried to stay in shape and work hard, but these next couple games we have are going to be tough,” she said.

“Every game is important, so a game like this is really important to us down the line.”

Three of the Red Storm’s next four games will be on the road and they are all
conference match-ups.

Last season, St. John’s didn’t win its 16th game until Feb. 25, so being ahead of that schedule gives the team an even bigger boost of confidence, especially with its upcoming schedule. But according to Hart, there is still work to be done.

“I think we can play better,” she said. “We play well, we got the win, but I think we can play better. We missed a lot of shots. We can rebound better.

We can improve guarding the post, rebounding [and] we got beat in transition a lot.”

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