It's been two whole days since you've heard from me. You guys must be going through withdrawal or something. Tonight we're back at Carnesecca Arena for the revenge match, St. John's hosting Quinnipiac and hoping to explain to the former NEC team that they don't get to sweep them.
Decent crowd tonight, though part of it is because a lot of the student athletes are in the house. The men's basketball team, with their awesome letter jackets, sent several representatives, and I've also seen gear from track and field, baseball, volleyball, and golf.
Amazing anthem from a freshman. Almost had a country feel to it.
At halftime, St. John's is up 36-27, and Aliyyah Handford is doing what Aliyyah Handford does, with 15 points at the break. Quinnipiac really does seem to be a hockey school- Fabbri sends her players in in full waves, like a hockey line change. Calling them the collection of misfit toys sounds harsher than it should, but by that I mean "body types that do not fit neatly into a positional mold and therefore are not highly sought after, but are still talented". They play very well together, and coming in waves means that they're always fresh.
I think I was expecting St. John's to put up more of a fight, even in the win, but I was definitely expecting Quinnipiac to come with the kind of fight and ferocity they showed. Do not sleep on the Bobcats, because they will claw your face off if you do. I love the Gaels, don't get me wrong, but I suspect Quinnipiac and Marist will be the ones fighting for the MAAC title when you get right down to the real nitty-gritty.
Camryn Warner showed some moves in the paint, but seemed surprised that using her posterior to clear out space would be considered a foul. Nikoline Ostergaard got a bit grabby. Shaina Earle was part of the wave in the first half; Morgan Manz was part of it in the second half. I think I had a recollection of speed from Maria Napolitano. Adily Martucci picked up a nifty poke check on what would have been a fast break by Ashley Perez. The bench players in general worked together really well as a unit (which I guess is the point of that system) but it makes it hard to remember specific things about specific players.
Jasmine Martin went to the paint without fear for a guard of her size. Brittany McQuain used her build well on the inside- size is the wrong word, because she's not necessarily tall, but she's thick and broad-shouldered, and she's not afraid to barrel in after rebounds, on either end of the floor. Samantha Guastella showed off a little bit of range and a little bit of flair. She and Gillian Abshire both put up pretty floaters in the lane that were good. Abshire went in hard and often.
Quinnipiac crashed the boards exceptionally well. They were after everything. I think I would have liked that better about them if they weren't playing us.
Jade Walker does exist! Like many a freshman post, she needs to get into the weight room and do some conditioning, but I like what I've seen from her so far. She had a really nice block in the first half, and she got into position reasonably well on both ends of the floor. Sandra Udobi's knee has been bothering her, so I'm not surprised that she wasn't as effective as she could be. She wasn't chasing rebounds at all, and that makes me sad. Kelantra Langley did that thing where she hits the shot at the endo f the shot clock, because that's what Key does. She took some of the ballhandling pressure off the smaller guards late in the second half, too.
Amber Thompson started the game off like a house on fire, but cooled off later on. Looking at her, I sort of felt like I was looking at an incomplete jigsaw puzzle- you could see the picture forming, and where the pieces were missing, but it's hard to tell where the pieces were. Ashley Perez was a hot mess tonight. I like her, but she's either got to improve her ballhandling or her ability to handle pressure. Bad things happened when she tried o bring the ball up against pressure, and I think the frustration got to her all over the floor. Her shot wasn't falling, her passing was suspect, and she generally seemed irritated with all things related to the game. Coach had to take her aside during one of the timeouts for some one-on-one time. Aaliyah Lewis is so very tiny, and needs to put a little more oomph into some of her shots, but I like the way she runs the team. I think once she's got a little more seniority and confidence, she'll be even more solid. Briana Brown is sneaky. I can't quite get behind calling her "the captain" the way the St. John's Twitter does, even though she's team captain, because The Captain is either Derek Jeter or Mark Messier, depending on the season, but I love her composure and poise, and her defense, and her willingness to go up against anyone and anything, even players bigger than she is by a lot. And then there was Aliyyah Handford, who continues to slice through defenses like a hot knife through butter. She even hit a jumper, which is known far and wide as one of the signs of the apocalypse.
The only thing that worries me about Aliyyah continuing to be awesome is that most of her teammates seem to be looking to her to bail them out instead of shooting. Briana is immune, for the most part, because she's not afraid of anything. But as awesome as Aliyyah is, she can't do it alone.
The officials had both coaches hot under the collar, Fabbri because she wanted travels, Joe because he got sick of his players being called for charges. I don't think there was a single block called in the game. Everything was player control.
I am immensely jealous of the guys' letter jackets. Old-fashioned and awesome. I want one, but I know what I would have to do to get it, and I think my husband would object.
That being said, what do I have to do to get my hands on the skyline socks that come with the team uniform? Because they are awesome and New York and I love them.
There are no more easy ones. It's on the road to the SEC for two games with a Harvard game in between. Let's see what these kids can do. We're going to need everyone in the game, everyone with their eye on the ball, everyone looking to contribute.