Smith Notches 1000 as St. John's Claims First Conference Win

Just the Facts, Ma'am: A late run salted away the Red Storm's first conference win, as St. John's defeated the visiting Providence Friars 57-41. Shenneika Smith had 14 of her 18 points in the second half, including the 1000th of her career, to lead all scorers, while Eugeneia McPherson added 12. Rachel Barnes put up 15 for Providence, which shot 28.6% from the field but out-rebounded the Red Storm.

For kvetching, Division II double-dipping, milestones, millstones, and small t-shirts, join your intrepid and perfectionistic blogger after the jump.

There are some days when you'll just take the win and run before you realize just how badly you played. This was definitely one of those days.

Moment of silence before the game in honor of the Big East's founder. Seems kind of late for a guy who died in September, but it was our first Big East home game, so I guess that's why.

Anthem was a bit off tonight. Trumpets, you have enjoyed winter break too much. Flautist, that better have been your sheet music you were checking on your touch-screen phone during the anthem.

Phil Seymore likes to take an odd position on the sideline, near the baseline. It makes sense if he's a coach who thinks his team is getting screwed by the refs underneath, but I imagine he doesn't see as much at the top of the zone, though I suppose that's what you have assistants for. Because they have a few kids from the area, they had a lot of loud people behind their bench, and I do think it's a bit classless to disconcert a free throw shooter on the road. I know that's how the "BRICK!" tradition started with Seattle, but it's a weapon that in college is better used at home. This was okay, though. It just gets us going, and I did two and a half years of improv. I can project like nobody's business.

Lauren Okafor, first, I refuse to refer to you as Lady. Second, wash your jersey. The pink marker in your numbers looks childish at best and is a uniform violation at worst. Her play bordered on dirty, and I'm fairly certain Da'Shena Stevens was going to kill her by the end of the night. Didn't Lola Wells use to be somebody of significance? She kind of turned into a non-factor, except for a second-half three that trimmed the lead. I was more impressed with Rachel Barnes's shooting- when she got going in the second half, I thought she was going to save the day for the Friars (the Nuns?) It's kind of silly to leave someone open from a spot when they've already hit a couple from that spot. Just saying. I have no idea why Alicia Cropper is starting for a Big East team. Maybe she just had an exceptionally awful game for some reason, but she couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, and she was taking both good and really bad shots. Teya Wright continues to throw me off, because Teya is pronounced like Tia, and we did a good job of shutting her down, though the foul trouble didn't help her either.

They got a few good minutes from Symone Roberts, but I was more impressed with the rebounding position of Brianna Edwards. I would write more about the Providence bench, but in general, it was an ugly game, and it's hard to write in more detail about an ugly game than "wow, you guys played stupid tonight".

St. John's decided to open things up by giving everyone a heart attack before the game had even started. They ran out in their two lines for the lay-up drill- and then Nadirah's ducking out of the way of a pass and then I blink and someone goes sliding and Zakiyyah and Amber are in a heap in the lane and HOLY TOLEDO ROCKETS WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? I don't actually know what was going on, but there was water all over the floor during warmups. There were more mops going at once than I've ever seen in my life. At least no one was seriously hurt, though I did worry about Mary accidentally ROFLing herself into an injury of some kind.

Nice to see Zakiyyah Shahid-Martin out of the doghouse- she was a DND last game, though I don't know why (I can guess, but they're unsubstantiated guesses). She played briefly in the first half when Da'Shena went out after having her head sat on, and had one good defensive series and one bad one. Brief cameos by Briana Brown, Jennifer Blanding, and Mallory Jones; it was nice to see the whole gang get on the floor at some point or another, though Briana's appearance was more of an "I'm throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks" shot in the first half. Tesia Harris also played briefly, but one dumb play pretty much got her benched for the rest of the game. Mary Nwachukwu didn't quite build on the momentum from her big game against Boston University, but she boxed out well. Keylantra Langley looked good on the boards, but her passing, both giving and receiving, was so far off that it was painful to watch. Don't fumble the ball out of bounds, okay, Key?

Eugeneia McPherson brought the drama with two three-pointers as the shot clock expired. She looked pretty good, and was about the only Red Storm player I didn't really start swearing at at any point, so there's a plus, I suppose. Da'Shena Stevens put up some pretty shots, but was slipping badly on defense. I think her teammates wanted to know what was going on more than once. Amber Thompson played like a freshman, with blatant frustration fouls and missed assignments- all the hustle, none of the discipline. Nadirah McKenith still looked a step off, but I wonder if that was partially because she was still coming back from the knee injury and was a bit more ginger after the issues with the floor. But we're better with her at point than any of our other options.

If you had told me at halftime that the second half, and especially the fourth quarter, would belong to Shenneika Smith, I would have kindly reminded you that Carnesecca Arena is a non-smoking facility, so put the pipe down. She had looked pretty awful for most of the first half, taking iffy shots and missing them badly, as well as being out of position on both ends of the floor and being careless with the ball. Her rebounding was solid, but that was it. And then something happened and she started hitting shots and going to the line. She needed 15 to get to 1000 for her career, and she got 18. (1003. Should I hope for 1500 by the end?)

Epic facepalm moment of the day in a day full of epic facepalm moments. Shenneika Smith on the fast break, hellbent on the basket, blissfully unaware of two Providence defenders all up in her business. So unaware, in fact, that Teya Wright picks her pocket like an extra from a Dickens novel. So unaware, in fact, that she attempts to complete the fast break and only then notices that the ball is no longer in her possession. It is customary to possess the ball before attempting to shoot it...

I expect a bit better officiating from Denise Brooks and Dennis DeMayo. (Other guy, I do not know you quite as well.) A lot of stuff went uncalled that could have easily festered into a fight. On both sides, to be sure.

Announcer guy, please keep the foul count straight on the floor, identify players correctly, get the lineup in the right order (by class unless otherwise informed), and do learn the difference between Da'Shena Stevens and Amber Thompson. And if you do make mistakes, correct them.

I don't know if Sky Lindsay's mom was joking about being pressed into service as a concessionaire at Queens College. And I'm not sure if she told me to get a better job or said she was going to tell Sky to get a better job when we explained the whole '5PM games are hard to get to with a 9-5:30 job' thing. But ladies and gentlemen, this is the Mama Lindsay experience and one of the biggest reasons why I miss Sky Lindsay. (I swear! We're going to Queens this season! Honor as a former Girl Scout!)

Neither of these teams looked like a Big East team tonight. Too many mind-numbing defensive lapses, too many people out of position on the boards, too many balls bouncing off hands and legs and arms, too many off-target shots... these were both two good defensive teams, but not as good as the score and the stats indicate.

I am hard on this team because I love them and I see the potential that's there. I hope someone, somewhere, gets that.

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