Just the Facts, Ma'am: St. John's snapped a four-game losing streak with a win over Seton Hall, 58-48. Shenneika Smith's 16 points led all scorers, while Eugeneia McPherson added 14 off the bench for the Red Storm. Kandice Green led the Pirates with 15 points and nine rebounds.
For ridiculous train fares, the innocence of college sophomores, amazing plays, and blatant lies, join your intrepid and rather punchy blogger after the jump.
If that wasn't what the doctor ordered, I don't know what could be. We already knew we could beat Seton Hall, or at least that we already had. We were going to be on the road, yes, but close enough to home that people would come out to make the trip, especially since Nadirah hails from Newark. We had time to think about how gods-awful that last game was, and I still maintain that I was right in lambasting them for the Connecticut game.
New Jersey Transit's fares are ridiculous. It cost us $27 combined round-trip to go to South Orange. I don't think we're going to be making this trip that often, or more than once a year. Between the fare and the long walk to the gym, especially since it requires a large loop because the gates closest to Walsh Gym are closed on weekends, it's going to take a lot of improvement from the Hall for me to go out there again.
Please do not ask eleven-year-old boys to sing the National Anthem. It does not end well. Sorry, guys.
It was great to see Amanda Burakoski willing to shoot again. Buzz, don't let the misses get you down- take your shots when you've got them. Her hustle this game was incredible- her hands were active and she kept her eye on the ball. She had some very blonde moments on defense, though. Keylantra Langley came in in short spurts to give Nadirah McKenith some rest, and because she was basically being used as a placeholder, she didn't have much of an impact on the game- she did score a basket for the first time in I can't remember how long, which allowed me to realize that the lady next to us was part of Key's family, not Briana Brown's like I had thought. Jennifer Blanding was rally out of it today. She must have left her skills at home. The and-1 was pretty, but that was about it. Eugeneia McPherson was our microwave off the bench- instant offense, just add butt-kicking. She brought the halfcourt trap nicely too.
I think Coco Hart's shoulder brace is trying to eat her. It's getting bigger every game. I don't know what they're going to do, because if this keeps up, she's going to need football pads, and we don't have a football team. She wasn't able to rebound the way she usually does, but she did a nice job of compensating for that by tipping the ball to her teammates a lot. She's leaving a lot of shots short, too. This is not a good thing. I do have to wonder where Sky Lindsay's game has gone this season, though she got us started nicely in the second half. Nadirah McKenith ran a solid game, and it looks like she's trying to get the team back to the running game, which I like. We work much better when we're moving. Da'Shena Stevens had an excellent first half for the Red Storm, and she takes way the heck too much punishment for my liking. Please do not elbow my players in the ta-tas, okay? It's nice to see Shenneika Smith's offense again. We missed it. It's pretty. I'd like to see less highlight reel and more simplicity, but I like points, just on general principles.
Jazzmine Johnson impressed me. She's got an incredible first step and a pretty shot. She made our lives miserable on the defensive end. Tajay Ashmeade appears to have fallen in the rotation, and if her games have been like today, I can't say I'm surprised. I guess Anne Donovan was using the LSU game to shake out what she had and doesn't have. And she doesn't have a lot. Whitney Wood continues to boggle my mind- I honestly have no idea how she ever ended up on a Big East team. She hit a corner three and that was all she did that I can recall being good and useful for the Hall. Brief cameos as well by Nicosia Henry and Terry Green, which surprised me- I recall Terry Green being a much more important part of that team.
We had no answer for Kandice Green in the paint. She knifed in all around us. She really showed out in the second half. We did a nice job of slowing down Ka-Deirdre Simmons, keeping her from initiating any offense until the last basket of the game (thanks for that defensive breakdown, Key, I'm sure Nana will never let you hear the end of it). Seriously, though. If Ka-Deirdre Simmons is five-eight, I'm Janel McCarville. If nothing else, after the game, someone snapped a picture of her with Nadirah, who's listed at five-seven, and she was visibly shorter. Kashmere Joseph is back in uniform (she was injured against LSU, which was the last time I saw the Pirates play) and gosh, I can't believe how little I missed her. She should have fouled out in the first half with some of those overly physical plays. She also needs to pull her shorts down. That all said, I thought she and her coach did a good job of using her outside skill set to keep her out of foul trouble once she got the fourth foul (of course, it would have helped if we'd driven in on her like we should have). Brittany Morris has a very odd looking jumpshot, but it seems to work for her. Jasmine Crew was off and on all through the game, showing flashes of potential.
Play of the game would have been Nadirah's emphatic stuff of Morris, except for the end of the first half. Went something like this: Seton Hall misses a shot. Coco pulls down the rebound, throws an outlet pass to Buzz. It's too far ahead, and we're holding our breath, thinking it's just another stupid turnover. Buzz somehow manages to save the ball on the end line to Nadirah, who sets up Shenneika for a lay-up as the buzzer expires. It was pretty awesome, except for the part where we thought Buzz had blown the play.
Play of the game for Seton Hall was Jazzmine Johnson's offensive rebound on the play where they were playing four on five due to contact lens issues that the referee didn't immediately pick up on.
Dear referees. Dear, dear referees. If a player checks someone into the boards, that is acceptable in hockey. It is not acceptable in basketball, especially when there are no boards. Gina almost left the gym the hard way. The proper call in that situation is certainly not to give the ball to the team committing the foul. Fortunately, at least the out of bounds was called correctly, even if somehow no one noticed that our player was checked pretty hard. There were a couple such plays, but the referees didn't do a bad job. The gentleman- Titus, I assume, since he didn't look like a Rachelle or an Angela- was a pretty quick counter, and I liked the way he differentiated between the different flavors of travel.
As I mentioned last time out, Seton Hall selects three players to sign autographs after every game, and we still had a poster to work on from the LSU game. Of course, one of today's three was a duplicate from the last time we went, which was mildly annoying, but that would still give us two new players, which would give us an acceptable amount of autographing before we stuck the poster on the wall with all our other nifty stuff. So we hung out in the lobby outside the gym itself, waiting for the Pirate players to come out and greet the few who would be waiting for them. They changed up the location slightly, which meant that we were waiting in the midst of the St. John's family and friends... and players, as they drifted out of the locker room with giant bags. Sky met up with her mom and family, Da'Shena met up with her folks, Buzz ran into the loving embrace of her mom and family, etc. Some folks met up with old friends- hence the picture of the picture of the two Newark girls. I have no idea where Gina knows Terry Green from, but they were chattering for a while. Green was also kind enough to sign our poster, especially since Jasmine Crew, one of the players who was supposed to sign after the game, either couldn't be bothered to come out or didn't realize that there was signing going on, given that we were the only ones waiting. Since Crew's the one who decided to play hockey with Gina, we're really not thrilled with her in our house.
Buzz... definitely takes after her mother. Not in looks, but in... a questionable and difficult to discern level of tact. We were telling a few people that we can't make it to the next game since it's at noon on a Tuesday, and we both work. "Well, why can't you take a day off?" "We have to save our vacation days for our honeymoon." "Why don't you take your honeymoon at one of our games?" Simultaneous blushing and burying of faces in hands occurred. (Because, Amanda, we timed our wedding to fall between seasons, we have already followed your team to two road games and Madison Square Garden, our honeymoon will be the only-non-basketball related part of our lives
and I don't think there's room for that under the bleachers at Carnesecca Arena anyway.)
So it was nice to see a win, and I'm much happier when we win, even though I still think we could have performed better, but under the circumstances, I have no reason to complain other than the fact that I'm very tired and I'm typing this paragraph with my eyes shut because I'm tired and they hurt from staring at the screen too long. You can tell by the degrading organization of my words and writing that it's time for me to finish this up and get to bed.