St. John’s U.: Red Storm Women’s Basketball Team Rises Up
It may be that the St. John’s men’s basketball team often gets the headlines; however, as the regular season winds down and the post-season tournaments beckon, it’s the women’s basketball team that is generating real positive buzz. The women’s hoops squad (21-8, 13-3) beat the Georgetown University Hoyas, a nationally ranked team, 54-45 recently, behind balanced scoring. Three Red Storm players scored 12 points as St. John’s put on a defensive clinic in stopping the Hoyas on the road.
This has been a season of firsts for the women’s team: the first time they defeated the No. 2 UConn Huskies since 1993. It was the first time they beat Rutgers on the road since 2007. After beating UConn, the Red Storm were ranked 20th in the AP poll — two more Big East wins lifted SJU to No. 18 in the AP poll.
Coach Kim Barnes Arico is pushing the right buttons as the Red Storm is rising, literally, in the women’s college game. SJU is gathering some serious momentum as the Red Storm gets set to play in the Big East Tournament, in Hartford, CT. “(It’s been) a great run,” Coach Barnes Arico said.
SJU beat the Huskies on their home court, which put the Red Storm on the map. “It was a great accomplishment,” said Arico. The team punctured UConn’s streak against non-ranked teams that lasted for almost 20 years.
Junior Shenneika Smith buried a three pointer to give the Red Storm a 57-56 lead with just seconds left and she was mobbed by her teammates — an athlete who seizes the moment takes that shot. So far, it’s been the biggest basket of the Red Storm season.
The Red Storm’s win over Georgetown closed out the regular season and the win made it eight straight wins.
“We’re playing at an all-time high,” Coach Barnes Arico said, after securing victories over three nationally ranked teams in the past two weeks. The Red Storm is doing it with a great defensive effort.
The Red Storm trailed the Hoyas 27-25, then came out and in the second half put the clamps down to hold them to 22 percent shooting from the floor. The Red Storm is rebounding the ball and hitting their free-throws. Those are the markers of a good team. This year, SJU is better than good. In four games, four Red Storm players scored in double figures, and St. John’s won all four games.
Da’ Shena Stevens is All Big East Senior. Junior Nadira McKenith, Barnes Arico claims, is one of the top point guards in the country. She can pass the ball, hit a shot when she needs to, and has a great floor game. Recently, she was named Big East Player of the Week.
Competing in the tough Big East conference is like playing in an NCAA Tournament game. In defeating some of the top teams in the country, the Red Storm has become battle tested.
Barnes Arico thinks there is more to come for this team come tournament time. “They know they’ve had a great year,” said the coach. “They’re not satisfied.”
The streak goes on. St. John’s won its ninth straight game beating No. 17 Louisville 68-61 in overtime behind Shennieka Smith’s six points in the extra session. SJU advances to its first Big East Semi-finals matchup since 1988. #