Just the Facts, Ma'am: A 20-8 second half run and 25 points off the bench from Eugeneia McPherson weren't enough for St. John's to overcome a sluggish start, and Maryland used a strong first half from Diandra Tchatchouang and a solid second half from Lynetta Kizer to pull out the 66-60 win.
For crowd noise, older Terrapins, cool uniforms, impressive rebounding stats, and the calling out of starters, join your intrepid and extremely annoyed at the neighbors blogger after the jump.Day 2 dawned bright and early- brighter and earlier than before, thanks to Maryland football being in a bowl game later that day. We made it to Comcast with less trouble than before (but I don't think you want to hear about the crazy rude singing bus driver from yesterday who tried to whiz past the stop and then not let me get on when my fiance was already on). It's always good to know where you're going.
We got some reinforcements- Buzz's family made it down from Brooklyn. So we're expecting a little more noise. We'll see how that shakes out as the game goes on.
I don't envy the Maryland band and dance team. They've got a triple-header today. Well, so do we, but theirs is a bit more physically intense- the St. John's-Maryland women's basketball game, then the ECU-Maryland bowl game, then the North Florida-Maryland men's game. That's intense. That's dedication. That also means we get to see their cool uniforms with the yellow and red capes and sashes. I'm not sure if the baseball caps go quite as much.
Unlike yesterday, Team Tyler had a representative in the house, and we happily passed along twenty bucks to Laura Harper. Hey, just because we're St. John's fans, and just because we're obnoxious and lacking in class, that doesn't mean we don't feel bad for kids with cancer. Apparently, she was shocked. I don't think schools realize the network among fans. We hear about local causes, and we get involved.
At halftime, it's a five-point Terrapin lead, but I'm feeling a little more comfortable than you might think. Our defense has been pretty solid, and though our offense has mostly been predicated on Eugeneia McPherson drawing fouls, we're scoring enough to stay in the game- plus Shenneika Smith and Da'Shena Stevens haven't really gotten started. If we can get one of them going, I think we've got a shot. We might also gain back some of the atmosphere, because although the Terp fans are getting more into the game today with the chants of "DEE-FENSE", the band may be leaving for the bowl game. That's the problem with overbooking, I suppose.
In addition to Laura Harper, who I think is doing radio for the Terrapins today, Crystal Langhorne and Marissa Coleman are in the house. Harper's knee still hasn't recovered- she's still on crutches. Something tells me she's not suiting up in the W this season unless it's late in the year and someone is really desperate for a spare post.
Just for the record, we're not the loudest St. John's fans in the arena. We're not the ones who are disconcerting the Maryland shooters- we recognize that this is not our house and it is extremely rude to disconcert the home shooter. That's mostly Buzz's family who's really letting them have it. You gotta love that Brooklyn sass. Now, if someone would please find the Sky Lindsay who actually knows how to play basketball, I think that would be very awesome and much appreciated.
That was the game I was expecting. That's what happens when you get two teams that are closely ranked, who are playing for poll position and to stake a claim against one of the few quality opponents that they'd be facing out of conference. That's what happens when you get two teams who have different style and a need to establish their style before they can get started. Now, if Shenneika would have shown up for the entire game instead of the fourth quarter, we might have had a chance.
This was not the game to give Keylantra Langley long minutes. The freshman was not ready, and more than once we heard Coach yelling at her about being out of position. She and Buzz teamed up on a great trap, and the two of them work well together defensively, but I don't think Key's ready yet. Amanda Burakoski was not the right player to bring in for this game either. Coach has this weird fixation with using Buzz as a power forward, and against a team that puts 6'3" people in the backcourt, this is not the world's most brilliant plan. She gave it her all, but she's six-foot and slim. Going against Alicia DeVaughn or Lynetta Kizer is not going to end well for her. Eugeneia McPherson kept us in the game in the first half, with her ability to get to the line and hit her free throws. Her defense was not up to par- that's something I've noticed a lot about St. John's, that they don't tend to play both ends of the floor well. If they're focusing on one thing, they're not doing the other. Jennifer Blanding came in for size and committed her usual stupid fouls. I think she could have done a better job of establishing position, but that's me judging from the outside. I don't know what it was like for her down there.
I really do think it would have been nice for Shenneika Smith to show up sometime before the fourth quarter. Well, technically, her first field goal was at 10:02, but that's close enough. Sure, she came on big in the last four minutes with her shots and her rebounding and her defense, but that was after we had gotten ourselves down fourteen, and I would have much rather not been in the position to claw back to 6, you know? Sky Lindsay continued to be awful, and I think she took offense to Coach noticing she had been awful. Gee, Sky, if you could hit your shots, your free throws, or even play decent defense, Coach wouldn't be stashing you on the bench for Gina or Key. So prove to me that you aren't just playing out the string, or that the incompetent in your jersey is an imposter, because I like you as a person but right now I can't stand you as a basketball player. Nadirah McKenith looked lost when she was in, and that's never a good thing to see out of a point guard, especially when you're counting on that point guard to spearhead your defense, but we looked even more lost when she went out with her ankle injury. We really need her, even more than some of our better players. Coco Hart couldn't get started early, which is understandable against the size of Maryland, but she started to kick it up late, in between the spate of bad decisions. Da'Shena Stevens came on in the second half, though I question some of her shot selection. I think I may have mentioned this a few times, but we really missed having Day on the floor. I'm glad she's back.
I don't know if anyone on St. John's noticed this against LaSalle, but Kim Rodgers can shoot it. You can't leave her open. You have to at least get a hand in her face. Once the hand is in her face, she's much less effective, but you have to get it there first. I still like Natasha Cloud, and I think once some of the logjam around her clears, she'll be a very valuable piece for the Terrapins. She did a magnificent job of splitting a steel trap on one play that had me going WOW. Laurin Mincy made a brief cameo and hit a shot. Alicia DeVaughn really put in work on the boards and on defense. She had a couple of emphatic blocks to go with her fierce rebounds and putbacks. I shouldn't be judging her by her mother, and I'd like to think I'd be saying this even if I didn't know her lineage, but I can see her developing into, well, Baby Yo- or the way Natalie Williams played later in her career, someone who feasts on other people's garbage. Which is a horribly gross way to put it, and I'm sorry for that.
Diandra Tchatchouang started the game red hot for Maryland. She canned a three to open it, and I started to suspect that this wasn't going to be our day when she did that. She was matching our point totals by herself for a good chunk of the first half. Anjalé Barrett ran a decent offense, and late in the game she started showing her offense; part of me thinks that has to do with her lineage through Seton Hall, but of course I'm biased. I remain quite impressed with Lynetta Kizer. Do I think Coco's inability to play defense on her was a factor? Yes. Do I think she's got the skill set to be a WNBA prospect and a pretty nice player if she wants to be? Absolutely. At this point, I absolutely cannot recall anything that Alyssa Thomas and Tianna Hawkins did, except that their presence might have affected Shenneika's shot selection. We're just not used to seeing people that tall in the back court.
The officiating was inconsistent, but in ways that made fans of both teams angry, so that works out in the end. The Maryland fans spent a lot of time furious at the and-1s; to be fair, free throws are how we stayed in the game in the first half. And we just never gave up. I have to give that to my team. We don't give up. Ever. We're stubborn, and tenacious, and really annoying if you're the opposing team.