I hate my job. I do not necessarily hate my job because of what it is and what I do, but because I work in the industrial armpit of Queens, which means that if a truck stalls out on either the Grand Avenue Bridge or the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge, I end up waiting 40 minutes in the cold for a bus and thus missing most of the first half of the St. John's game.
At halftime, it's 40-26 St. John's over Florida. That's the good news for the Johnnies. The bad news is that it's the Danaejah Grant/Aliyyah Handford show, which is not sustainable in the long run. Aliyyah has 17 and Danaejah has 16. That leaves seven points scored by other players. That's not sustainable in the long run. From what I've seen, we've been moving very quickly on both ends of the floor.
It's Military Appreciation Night at St. John's, so we got swearing-in ceremonies at halftime and the team has "We Support Our Troops" shirts.
I did not enjoy the sloppiness and lackadaisical play in the second half that allowed Florida to come back and take brief leads, and I'm still not comfortable with everything being about two players, but the season is still young, younger than most of our roster.
I'm really not feeling the black road jerseys for Florida, though I'm not sure what they should be wearing instead. Maybe blue?
There was a fairly large contingent of Florida fans- maybe two rows' worth- behind the bench. Why in the name of all that is sweet and holy would you come to New York from Florida in mid-November? It's cold up here! I know it's been cold in Florida, but it is way colder up here, are you people crazy? In any case, they were loud, and one of our fraternities did work trying to drown them out.
January Miller moves pretty well for a guard of her build. She was all up in everyone's business on defense. I keep meaning to check whether Haley Lorenzen is any relation to Jared Lorenzen. One of those random connections my brain throws up sometimes. I feel like I should be remembering more of the bench, but I think they played the bulk of their minutes in the first half, when I wasn't there to see them; it felt like the starters were the key players in the second half.
Carlie Needles has a really obnoxious habit of yelling out assignments while on the lane for free throws. It's to the point where it's legitimately disconcerting to the shooter, and I'm surprised that none of the refs got on her case for it. She seems to run that team. Cassie Peoples launched threes from all over the floor and showed a fair amount of hustle. Ronni Williams took a nasty spill in the second half and twisted her ankle- she came off limping, but was well enough to come back and come up with some big plays late in the game. Antoinette Bannister pressured the ballhandler, and when someone less sure than Aaliyah Lewis had the ball, it did not end well for St. John's. Kayla Lewis mixed it up down low, aggressive for a player with a relatively slimb uild for her height. She was impressive. I could have done without some of the forearm shivers, though.
Oh, Kyra Dunn. I can already tell that you're going to be that player who makes me want to tear my hair out. I love her shot blocking, and we do need height, but height is not particularly effective if it runs away from anything and everything in sight. It also distresses me that she's not terribly fast for her size. Usually it's the big posts who lumber, but despite looking kind of like a stick insect, Kyra does not move very quickly. She was in and out as necessary. Imani Littleton played in spurts, but whens he made freshman mistakes, she was sent back to the bench, same with Tonoia Wade. Tonoia's gotta hit shots on the break like that. More oomph is required. Miniutes were brief for most of the bench players, which worries me for the rest of the season. We need a blowout so they can get extensive minutes so we can determine who they are and what they can do.
Amber Thompson remains a strong defensive force and a tough rebounder. I don't know if she's looking ofr her offense and not finding it, or if she's been told not to shoot, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with her only getting two shots. If she's not a credible threat, then there's more defense on Aliyyah and Danaejah. Jade Walker came up with big baskets down the stretch, and it's absolutely amazing that she didn't foul out of the game, since there were three calls after her fourth foul that I thought were going to be on her and were instead passed. At least she's trying. I'm not sure I like the outside jumpers, but as long as they're falling, I shouldn't complain. Aaliyah Lewis is growing into her own as a point guard- still a little unsure of herself, but growing in confidence both with her teammates and within herself. I just wish she weren't so tiny! Aliyyah Handford was hot in the first half, but cooled somewhat in the second, though I think Florida intensified the defense on her. She went down late in the game and scared the living daylights out of most of the people in the arena. She got back up, though. I think she came up with a steal right after that. Danaejah Grant was fantastic in the first half and again at the end of the second half. I think she was letting some of the foul calls get into her head- I'm not sure she was completely engaged. Maybe I'm wrong. I'm a little wiped out.
We got frustrated with the officiating, as always. But if they'd called everything we had seen, I'm pretty sure Amber would have fouled out, so there's something to be said for non-calls. I guess.
We got our first look at the new student section for St. John's, the 6th Man. I certainly hope they're involved for longer stretches of the game than this during men's games. Three rows of standees at center court are not going to be very popular if all they're doing is standing, not cheering. The guys from the baseball team, on the other hand, were pretty cool. (Yes, I'm demanding when it comes to fan participation.)
I'm not worried about Binghamton or Wagner. But I'm starting to worry about Auburn and Seton Hall.