The St. John's Red Storm just handed the UConn women their first home loss in 99 games, on Senior Night in Storrs no less. Connecticut's last defeat at home came in the 2007 Big East Tournament Finals against Rutgers at the XL Center.
"St. John's put us in that situation with the way they played. I think they played great," Geno Auriemma said after the game. "They had their game plan and they stuck to it. We didn't get enough shots at the basket. They had 14 more shots than we did. I don't know that you're going to win a lot of games when you let a team get that many more shots. Every time they needed to make a shot it seemed like they made it."
The Red Storm was propelled to the win with a trio of double-digit scorers in De'Shena Stevens, Nadirah McKinith and Shenneika Smith. Smith hit a three-pointer with eight seconds on the clock to give St. John's the one point victory after Bria Hartley's attempt at the buzzer didn't fall.
"[Smith] was gutsy. She wanted it too. She wanted me to call that play and I said to my staff at the time, 'Should we go for the tie here or should we go for the win,' and we said, 'Why not go for the win?'," St. John's coach Kim Barnes Arico said.
Statistically, UConn outshot St. John's 43.1% to 38.5% from the floor, and outrebounded the Red Storm 33 to 27 in the game. The most glaring statistic, however, is the 18 turnovers committed by the home team compared to St. John's nine.
UConn senior Tiffany Hayes said, "It's just a loss period. You never want to lose, and especially at home and on a day like this. But it is still a loss and it feels like another loss no matter what."
"It breaks your heart," said freshman Kiah Stokes. "This is our house and we are not supposed to lose here. It's hard to get that through my head, that we actually just loss."
Aside from the home streak being broken, this marks their first loss to an unranked opponent since March 17, 1993 - a streak of 261 games.
St. John's senior De'Shena Stevens, a Connecticut native, talked about the statement win.
"It feels amazing just for our team and the stretch we've been playing so far. I think we've been playing great. We've been beating teams. Right now we are just feelin' it.
"I think we made a statement tonight. Last game we played great. Coach (Barnes Arico) brought up not being ranked, but we really didn't worry about that. To come out and play against a great team with what they were going for tonight, it just feels amazing."
Despite coming into the game unranked, Barnes-Arico thinks the Red Storm have been undervalued, and the win at Connecticut just bolsters her case.
"If anybody, the NCAA committee, the AP writers or the coaches, look at how we've been since we've been healthy, I don't think there's any question that we're not one of the best teams in the country," Barnes-Arico said. "I said that at the last press conference. I would be surprised if we aren't one of the top 30 teams in the country. Golly, you guys got to see us tonight. You think there's 30 better?"
(quotes courtesy of UConn Athletic Department)