St. John’s wins boro battle

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The Battle of the Boroughs between the St. John’s women’s basketball team and Wagner didn’t turn out to be much of a battle at all.

Queens gave Staten Island more than it could handle Nov. 22 at Carnesecca Arena — and then some.

The Red Storm dominated the Seahawks, 54-34, jumping out to a double-digit lead with less than five minutes to go in the first half and never looking back.

The first half featured a 9:15 time frame in which Wagner did not score a basket. The second half wouldn’t fair much better for the Staten Island visitors, who managed just five points in the opening 11:46 of play.

St. John’s head Coach Kim Barnes Arico was pleased with the way her team played following a tough loss to Hofstra. After the game, she stressed how important it was that her squad continued to play at a high level for a full game.

“We lost a couple of games and we lost them with three minutes left to go in the game, so our biggest thing is trying to finish things out and really be able to keep that intensity level for 40 minutes,” said Barnes Arico.

The guard play of Nadirah McKenith and Shenneika Smith was proof of that continued intensity. Wagner had no answer for both players on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. They combined for 31 of the Storm’s 54 points and nine of the team’s 15 steals. The Storm also forced 22 turnovers, which they turned into 23 points.

Barnes Arico was particularly impressed with McKenith, specifically for her stout defensive play, which set a tempo for the rest of the team. Wagner had trouble bringing the ball up the court for most of the night.

The strong play on the defensive side of the ball could have been attributed to the fact that the Storm hasn’t done much work on their scoring since the Hofstra loss. Smith said they didn’t do one offensive thing until the day of the Wagner game.

McKenith offered her own perspective.

“Coach, the past couple of days stressed our defense and how horrible we have been, so we just tried to come out tonight and defend and I think we did a pretty good job,” said McKenith.

With all that being said, their lack of offensive production was also noticeable. Barnes Arico thought that her team could have done a better job executing, but she wasn’t surprised, since the focus at practice prior to the game was to be a better team defensively.

The Storm only shot 37.3 percent from the field and were only 8-20 from the free throw line. There is no doubt the Storm must improve on both sides of the ball to be a force in the Big East.

In other sports news, St. John’s was back in action Nov. 25 when they lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes 60-52 in Freeport, Bahamas, apart of the annual Junkanoo Jam tournament. They followed that up the next day with a 59-53 win against the Temple Owls.

Posted 12:33 am, December 1, 2011
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