Just the Facts, Ma'am: 16 points from Eugeneia McPherson and a 42-point second half gave the St. John's Red Storm a 63-48 victory over the visiting Howard Bison. Tamoria Holmes led Howard with 16 points.
For tenacity, exhaustion, threats of violence, and middle-school children, join your intrepid and sleep deprived blogger after the jump.
I swear, one of these days this team is going to kill me. I can't count how many times I've used those words to open a set of Game Notes of Doom, but it's true again. I don't care who we're missing, there's no excuse for a team like St. John's to go down nine to a team like Howard at any point in the game. We remembered who we were in the second half, and that's a plus, but I don't like how this team fell apart when presented with a challenge.
My sympathies to Mary Nwachukwu- hoping all is as well as can be. She left the team while they were in the Bahamas, and she wasn't with them tonight. There was a little bit of gossip as to the reason, but nothing has been confirmed to my satisfaction, and since she clearly doesn't want her business bruited about, I won't do it for her.
To whoever that was singing the anthem: first of all, take off your hat and sunglasses when singing the national anthem. Second, whoever gave you a recording contract should be taken out back and shot.
I find something very discomfiting about a female coach with two male assistants. The power dynamics just strike me the wrong way. Geckeler was definitely the one in charge, but... gah, I hate that I have to consider gender politics in my sports, I just want to cheer for my team.
Many of our usual suspects weren't in place today, which meant that we were invaded by middle school students who found us amusing and occasionally worth mocking. If I'd been sure, I would have gone to their chaperone. Then I would have thrown one into the upper deck. No one messes with my husband.
I was very impressed with Howard's rebounding, especially on the offensive boards. They gauged their leaps very well. They contested most shots and just about every rebound. They don't have the height, but they have the ability to sneak into spaces and wrap things up.
Zykia Brown's three-pointers had me worried for a while, but she missed when they needed her to come up big. Cheyenne Brown was the only other Bison player to log heavy minutes off the bench. She had one pretty shot in the lane, but that's all I remember about her.
Cheyenne Curley-Payne (yes, this team has two Cheyennes, welcome to the twenty-first century) demonstrated a neat facility for fitting into small spaces, and damn, is she ever fast. Tamoria Holmes brought the offense in the first half with jumpers from the perimeter- she's another fast, short, guard. Saadia Doyle reminds me a lot of Crystal Robinson in her build and her free throw wind-up. She's more of an inside player, though. Kara Smith always seemed to come up with the right shot at the right time. Likewise, Nicole Deterville seemed to come up with the right rebound at the right time. (Or maybe it was her sister. I don't know if they're identical or not, but Portia Deterville is also a 6-1 forward/center; maybe they pulled a Parent Trap.)
At least Briana Brown had the offensive rebound. Tesia Harris's shot was... I don't even know how to describe it. When two consecutive shots on the same possession are a three that goes long and a mid-range jumper that falls short, I throw my hands up in despair and scream to the heavens. Keylantra Langley had a solid game off the bench on both ends of the floor. I'd like to see her shoot less, but I can't fault the defense and the rebounding. Mallory Jones got more time than we were used to, but I'm not sure this freshman is ready yet. Zakiyyah Shahid-Martin was called upon more than usual since we were short-handed in the post, and she did admirably in the time she played- nothing big, nothing statistical, but enough to keep us from falling apart.
Shenneika Smith came up big in the second half, making the little plays, especially on the offensive boards, that got the team back in the game and extended the lead. Nadirah McKenith was off her game today, whether it was due to illness (we thought we saw her throwing up in a bucket during a timeout) or injury (she came out for shootaround holding the left side of her neck, and early in the game, she wasn't able to look in that direction). She cleaned up at the line, though. Eugeneia McPherson, I swear on my honor as a former Girl Scout, I am going to end up breaking a clipboard over your head if you keep going towards the lane, throwing something in the general direction of the glass, collapsing to the floor, and then kvetching to the ref when you don't get the call. It's nice when she slashes through the lane, taking contact like a pinball as she drives to the basket. But she always seems to prioritize getting to the line over putting up a viable shot. Amber Thompson was victimized by foul trouble, but I continue to love her hustle after rebounds. I still want her to be more aggressive under the basket on offense, but that will come with time. Jennifer Blanding wasn't completely awful- she filled space, made some defensive plays, hit her only shot. She did what we needed her to do in Mary's absence.
These refs. I don't even know what. Late whistles, pushes called in the wrong direction, jump ball situations not called, fouls on all-ball wrap-ups... I don't know what game these refs were watching, but I'm not certain it was ours.
Impressive halftime play from Our Lady of Victory. #50 in orange looked like a half-pint Katie Douglas.
I keep telling myself that we'll be fine when Da'Shena comes back, but I'm honestly not sure. I do hope that things are well enough with Mary that she can rejoin the team for the Hartford game, because Hartford is probably better than Howard, and we had enough trouble with Howard.