Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the frozen wasteland of 2014! We're coming to you in stereophonic sound from Carnesecca Arena, where the Red Storm meet up with the Creighton Bluejays. Observant readers will recall that the Red Storm and the Bluejays have a bit of history, having met up a couple of years ago in Norman. I suspect St. John's remembered.
No thanks to the MTA, I missed the very start of the game, so you get no anthem notes. There are not a lot of people here, and most of them are the basketball team, or in some way affiliated with the CYO team that ran up and down the court at halftime. We even got a shirt. Granted, it's a small, which might maybe make it over my head before, er, getting stuck. But it'll make good raw materials for my new quilt.
At halftime, the score is 35-18 St. John's. Amber Thompson has been owning the boards, and everyone's scoring. The scoring leader, with eight points, is Jade Walker, which I'm sure all of you were expecting. Alexis Akin-Otiko leads Creighton with five.
Either Jim Flanery is exceedingly irked at his team or he made subs very early in the first half; three players differ from that lineup. (looking at the box score, it looks like he made quick subs).
Tessa Leytem looked lost out on the floor- out of position, which I think led to Creighton having to take a foul on one defensive possession. MC McGrory, in addition to having a name that sounds kind of like the lost member of the Dropkick Murphys, always seemed to be on the ball and in the middle of every play. Alexis Akin-Otiko made her presence felt underneath, shouldering her way to the basket. For a team that shoots a lot of threes, the Jays have a lot of big players who clog up the middle. I feel like I should remember more about Lauren Works and Jordan Garrison, but I think they did most of the missing and some of the trapping.
Sammy Jensen bailed St. John's out twice with badly timed fouls at the end of the shot clock. I think she was supposed to be their point guard, but their offense, for the most part, wasn't running crisply enough for me to determine who was supposed to be running it. McKenzie Fujan had a pretty shot. Alyssa Kamphaus got a little friendly with the elbows while she took up space in the middle. That's one tough lady down low. Sarah Nelson spent a lot of her time, especially in the first half, running around to set screens for her teammates. I expected her to be more of an offensive presence, but she didn't even really look for her offense until the second half. I wonder if the transition to the Big East has hit her harder than the rest of her team, or if this was just an off day for her. Marissa Janning was the hero of the day for Creighton. She turned up the offense in the second half, and brought good on-ball defense as well, with nifty poke-checks and quick hands. Her release was very quick and impressive.
Creighton ran a lot of screens, especially in the first half. I think they were trying to get their shooters open, but for the most part, St. John's was able to get around and through the screens (well, except for Sandra Udobi chasing Sarah Nelson through more picks than an obstacle course).
O HAI DERE Jade Walker. We see you. Oh, do we see you! She's still having issues with the holding thing on defense, but her step-back jumper was a thing of beauty. She mixed it up a little on the inside, too, living a bit up to her surname. Selina Archer spent the end of the game mostly staring at rebounds and letting other people get them. I'm starting to understand why Miami wasn't exactly all torn up about losing her. Mallory Jones had a good look at a three at the end of the game, and we were all kind of bummed that she missed it. Keylantra Langley brought the defense and the well-timed shots, because that's what she does. Danaejah Grant lit it up in the second half on offense, putting up jumpers and driving through the lane with the greatest of ease. She did have a tendency to stand around and look pretty on defense, though. (Though she and Aliyyah teamed up for a nice trap in the second half.) Aaliyah Lewis seemed a bit tentative, and I'll swear that she managed to get a blocked shot, no matter what the stats say.
Speaking of tentative, I don't know what's gotten into Aliyyah Handford, but whatever it is, she needs to gt herself dispelled of it in a hurry. There's no reason for someone with Aliyyah's superb offensive skill and incredible athleticism to take only five shots. I know Danaejah has been awesome lately, but that doesn't mean that Aliyyah has to let up. She had a couple of pretty defensive plays, but seemed to be more interested in making the big play than the nitty-gritty play. Eugeneia McPherson showed off spectacular timing with her threes coming at the end of the shot clock, but she's going to drive me to pulling out my hair if she doesn't stop dawdling in the backcourt. Sandra Udobi started, but played very little in this one, with Danaejah getting the second half start. I think the knee was barking. Briana Brown got in early foul trouble, which I think limited her defensively, and once she starts getting those mismatches, it doesn't end well for her. Amber Thompson played like we've always known that she could play- ferocious on the boards, strong on the inside. She was fantastic.
A lot of missed travels in this game. I didn't approve of the missed trip that sent Gina to the floor, either. We got the benefit of most of those travels, but I still don't approve.
The DJ that appears to have taken up residence at St. John's games is not popular- not with the fans that we've spoken to, certainly not with the band, and now not with the dance team. Messing up their music mid-routine is not going to make you their favorite guy. To their credit, they finished the routine as if the music were still on. More power to them
The Big East is definitely a rollercoaster this year. I'm looking forward to it.
- Butler, Seton Hall making their way through the new Big East
- 'The Butler Way': The lasting impact of Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens on Beth Couture and the Bulldogs program
- Huskies humiliate Houston in 90-40 victory
- What UConn center Stefanie Dolson's improved rebounding means for her value as a 2014 WNBA Draft prospect
- Sparks Watch Day 7: Could this have been prevented?