Just the Facts, Ma'am: Domination on the boards and a 24-point performance from Anna Martin powered the DePaul Blue Demons to a 69-54 win over the Red Storm of St. John's. Keisha Hampton, Felicia Chester, and Taylor Pikes each had 11 rebounds for DePaul. St. John's placed no one in double figures; Amanda Burakoski, Nadirah McKenith, and Shenneika Smith each had nine points for the Red Storm, with point guard McKenith leading the team with eight rebounds.
For celebrity recognition, raging at the heavens, a lack of hustle, and the cacophonous sound of free throws bouncing off the rim, join your intrepid and still seething blogger after the jump.
I'm sick to my stomach right now at my team. I love my program, don't get me wrong. But that means that I get exceedingly angry when I watch my team go out there and proceed to play like they don't give a damn about the game or their team. (I'm also sick to my stomach because of the shooting in Arizona, and I'm trying not to let that color my perception of things that have nothing to do with politics.)
The day started off so well, too, and both for reasons that had nothing to do with basketball and everything to do with basketball. It's one thing to be recognized by fellow message board posters and people who've met once or twice by your handle. It's another thing to be recognized by your handle by a professional in the field. Hi, Brooke! I love your work! And I'm not just saying that because you're a fan of the blog!
And it all went to hell in a handbasket in a hurry. The St. John's marketing department changed their story on the tickets we were supposed to be getting for the UConn game again, to the point where maybe we'll have them on Monday, which is not reassuring when the game is on Wednesday and they've been telling us we'll have the tickets in a few days for the last couple of months. While I appreciate being able to get to this major game (though not as much as I would have thought, now that I've seen how this team approaches big games), their handling leaves much to be desired. This is not the greatest move in the world.
Lousy anthem. This singer was billed as the first performer for a new label, and I hope that she's the last one, if she's any indication of their talent scouting. Her performance was awful, and she messed up the words. Messing up the words is unacceptable.
Doug Bruno is the only person I've ever seen who appears to be aging in reverse. Good for him. He's a good guy, and he's good for the game. I just wish he'd stop trying to officiate and coach at the same time. There's only so much you can do at once, you know.
I didn't even notice that China Threatt, who really has one of my favorite names in basketball, played in this game. Shows how much attention our announcer was paying ot the subs. I was also surprised that Deirdre Naughton wasn't really a factor. I was under the impression that she had been a major piece for them before she got injured last year, and Bruno really didn't bring in a lot of players this year. They got some good minutes from Deanna Ortiz, who brought a nice blend of size and touch off the bench. Maureen Mulchrone I mostly remember for her fouls, and I could have sworn she had two, although the box score says one. But what do I know? I'm just the screaming woman in the Joy McCorvey jersey. Taylor Pikes had some nice shots, but also some pretty dumb plays. Par for the course for a reserve, I suppose.
So apparently the scouting report that everyone read was the same one that St. John's read, because we did our best to contain Keisha Hampton and Sam Quigley. Great. We did a nice job on that, at least until the second half when Quigley started hitting some absolutely impossible shot. Her little finger roll comes to mind, but so does the cold-blooded three she hit near the end of the shot clock. Of course, this left Anna Martin open for shot after shot after shot. You get the idea. It was extremely frustrating to watch her take open threes or score on the fast break as St. John's defenders ran away from her as if they should have been holding matador capes. It's one thing when you're not expecting someone to go off, and if this had all been in the first half and we clamped down on her in the second, that would have been all right. That would have shown DePaul's depth and St. John's ability to regroup. But she was going at it deep into the second half, and defender after defender couldn't be bothered to stay on her. I am not amused. I am not even close to being amused. Felicia Chester and Katherine Harry brought good size and toughness down low for the Blue Demons, though I thought Chester really needed to tone down the screens slightly. She got called for one illegal screen, and should have been flagged for at least one more.
What impressed me most about DePaul was their ability to rebound. They chased balls and took advantage of every tap the way we usually do, except they did it with taller players. All other things being equal, the taller team will win in that situation. They kicked our butts on the boards. I have to appreciate that.
Of course, I also have to appreciate the fact that, for whatever reason I cannot possibly think of for a college student on a Saturday afternoon after a Friday night in New York City, Da'Shena Stevens got herself a nice little suspension for the first quarter of the game. I know that college games don't have quarters, but she didn't go in until after ten minutes had passed in the first half, so I'm calling it a quarter. She looked very disoriented and really like she didn't have her head in the game. It's a very bad sign when I'm hoping that the reason why was because she was still suffering from the concussion she suffered against Southern Miss. We got very good minutes out of Jennifer Blanding, who used her size well against the DePaul posts and converted on her opportunities for a change. Keylantra Langley showed me nothing; I almost wish she hadn't taken the one shot she missed so that she would have shown up in the boxscore as an eight billion, because that would have reflected her value in this game. On the other hand, at least in the first half and on the defensive end of the floor, Amanda Burakoski was putting in some work. Her hands were extremely active. She kept a lot of balls alive and had one sequence where she followed a sweet three with a steal. But in the second half she was suddenly very reticent to shoot. We were screaming for her to shoot the ball time and time again, but she wasn't willing and her teammates stopped finding her. I don't get it.
I also don't get why Briana Brown's not playing. I don't understand why Zakkiyah Shahid-Martin's not playing, though I've heard enough things that I don't wonder as much as I do about Bri. In the games I've seen, Bri has shown me more than Key.
The only reason I'm not attempting to eviscerate my starting lineup is because this part of the blog was written several hours later, after the Jet game, and my spirits have been lifted. I'm still absolutely livid at how lackadaisical Shenneika Smith was on defense, and how off her shots were on offense. She sat out the third quarter of the game, not coming back in until the ten minute mark of the second half, and unlike Da'Shena, I can't think of any medical excuse she might have had to be held out, other than the same thing that might have happened to Da'Shena, and to many college students on the Saturday after a Friday night in New York City. I wasn't thrilled with Sky Lindsay's effort, either, and her shot selection was not what I would have liked out of a senior leader. On the other hand, that's more than I can say for Coco Hart, whose presence on the court was unnoticeable for long stretches punctuated by moments of complete stupidity. Nadirah McKenith, while she was working hard on the boards, wasn't able to run much else efficiently. Her defense was not what I have come to expect from her, either. While Eugeneia McPherson didn't have a great game, I can't fault her effort. I can never fault her effort.
Prettiest play of the game for St. John's was Nadirah's stutter-step/crossover/move that faked DePaul out of their collective sneakers and possibly socks. Again, that was in the first half and it all went downhill from there.
Free throws. Oh my GOD, someone hit a free throw. 10-22 is unacceptable.
I'm not thrilled with Kim's coaching in this game, either. I can only assume she had to balance her starters' stupidity with the needs of her game plan, since she couldn't just sit them both. I might have switched Da'Shena and Shenneika, since it looked bad for Kim to have Day not starting after the big ceremony for her thousandth point. But she still does an excellent job of looking like she doesn't know her personnel and wants to keep running the same game plan that was in her head at the beginning of the game and not adjusting to things that happened in reality.
We had a very good crew today- Denise Brooks, Bob Trammell, and Kathy Lonergan- so I have fewer complaints about the officiating than I normally do. I forgot how personable Brooks was. That's one of the things I like about her, though; she knows how to be friendly to the folks she's officiating for without giving up her objectivity.
It looked like a much nicer crowd than it was; the official attendance said 844, but it looked like more. Of course, my perception of the sound is always biased because I sit next to the loudest guy in the arena, and I'm usually one of the loudest people there myself. Except, of course, when my team's failure is so epic and dismal that I just can't do it anymore and I sit and watch the game quietly, with occasional pointed comments. I hate getting to that point, you know.
So I'm looking forward to the UConn game less than I was before, because not only are we on a losing streak, UConn is going to be looking for someone they can take out their frustrations with Notre Dame on. And oh, look, an undersized opponent who can't take advantage of them in the post, who's playing on a floor that's nominally their home court but that UConn has experience with and will be more like a neutral site game, and isn't playing at their very best. We're gonna get cheesed.