St. John's 72 Louisville 64: The Analysis

Kim Barnes Arico and daughter Cecelia meet the media.

Queens, NY - The St. John's women came into the game with a big opportunity.

They were facing 2-0 (Big east) Louisville, ranked #14 in the country. Kim Barnes Arico's group was healthy and in the comforts of home. The Red Storm took advantage, scoring a significant victory by defeating the Cardinals 72-64 at Carnesecca Arena.

The pace/possession breakdown:

Possessions

Offensive Efficiency

Louisville

68

94

St. John's

67

108

Just about the same pace both teams were playing in their prior Big East games. The numbers that stand out are in the efficiency column. St. John's did the job on the defensive end while executing on offense, to a very high degree.

The Red Storm did a nice job caring for the ball with an 18% (12 turnovers) TO rate. Louisville, by contrast, was 22% due to 15 miscues.

Observations:

    1. Louisville has size but it was not a factor in this game. The Cardinals were much more perimeter oriented and St. John's rose to the task of stopping the guards. There were two double figure scorers for Louisville, Bria Smith with 19 points and Becky Burke contributing 17.
    2. Smith played 29 minutes before fouling out. Barnes Arico feels Nadirah McKenith's drawing the charge for Smith's fifth and personal foul was crucial. "Up until that time she (Smith) was hurting us off the bounce," Barnes Arico said. McKenith joked about it being her first charge taken this season.
    3. Da'Shena Stevens had 9 points and 10 boards for the Red Storm. Beside that, credit her with superlative defense on Shoni Schimmel. The Louisville sophomore guard finished with eight points, never got into a groove and was 4 of 18 (zero for 7 from three) from the floor. Schimmel entered the game leading the Cardinals with 14.3 points per game with 33 three pointers, second on the team to Burke's 35.
    4. As noted Schimmel is still a sophomore but her game seemed to be too much over dribbling and a ‘liberal' shot selection. She will improve on those negatives as time progresses.
    5. Louisville shot 18 threes making 6 (33%). That is 29% of their attempts originating from downtown. St. John's attempted 11 (3 made for 27%). Storm took only 19% of their attempts from three. As a result, the St. John's attack, more slashing and attack the basket saw them visit the line for 27 attempts as opposed to Louisville's dozen.
    6. Mary Nwachukwu gave 17 solid minutes for the Storm. The 6-2 sophomore enjoyed a commendable 8 point 4 rebound outing.
    7. St. John's has everyone healthy and suddenly are a team poised to do damage as the conference schedule plays out. Next up, a road trip to Syracuse on Wednesday.
    8. The last few minutes got a little hectic for St. John's, especially on the defensive end. Louisville was threatening to get what was a double digit deficit down to a two possession contest. "Overall I thought our defense was very good," Barnes Arico said. "Those last two minutes they (Louisville) went to five guards and that combination gave us a little trouble."
    9. Eugeneia McPherson led St. John's with 16 points. Nadirah McKenith was a stat stuffer. The junior guard scored 15 points while posting a game high Manley/NBA efficiency rating of 22. McKenith's five boards, six assists and four steals, offset only two turnovers to account for the gaudy efficiency number.
    10. Coaches' impressions: "It was an outstanding win. It's great to have everyone healthy. Our lack of size did not hurt as we outrebounded them (42-35). It's just great to have Da'Shena (Stevens) back we are such a different team with her." - Kim Barnes Arico.

      "We did not score enough points. Actually we came out the first half and did a nice job. I thought St. John's played extremely well. Execution was a big thing for us and it did not transfer to the defensive end...we committed a number of fouls trying to block shots. We emphasized you must stay straight up on defense." - Louisville coach Jeff Walz.

      Louisville is 13-3 (2-1 Big east) while St. john's improves to 10-6 with a similar conference record.

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