These are not the
droids St. John's Game Notes of Doom you were looking for.
I've always been a fan of defensive basketball. The New York Liberty started me that way, the Miami Sol developed me further, and Rutgers finished the job. But every so often you have to stop and appreciate a scorer. The peril of following defensive teams, though, is that you rarely see a phenomenal scorer. I haven't had a college team with a 2,000 point scorer since I was a Rutgers fan back in the day and Cappie Pondexter scored all the points.
But that was then, and this is now, and at 1:25 PM before the Iona-Stony Brook tip, Damika Martinez is sitting on 1,994 points. And I want to see her do it. So St. John's plays Wagner at 2, and Iona plays Stony Brook at 2, and I'm in New Rochelle.
Graphics team is already ready for Mik2K, but it's bad luck to keep it up quite so long.
I wish you could see this roster card. Typesetting, you're doing it so wrong, and possibly drunkenly.
Even the toughest basketball players love small kids. Damika and one of (I think) her little cousins were just too adorable.
Mik2K has been achieved. Damika has 14 at the half, and Iona is holding on to a 31-25 lead over Stony Brook. Only three Seawolves have even scored, led by 11 from Sabre Proctor. But I do not like the pace. All our guards are capable of running- so why are they slowing down the pace and pounding the dribble like it's a Rutgers-Villanova-Utah round-robin? "Don't think too much- you'll hurt the ballclub."
That game had the odd feeling of both feeling like it was closer than it should have been and not as close as it should have been. Does that make any sense? I felt like Iona should have been pressing more on offense- but Stony Brook had a lot more makeable shots and looks at the basket, and the margin sort of ballooned during a second half run and with Damika getting free throws (which, hey, cool, freebies as she winds toward 2467!)
Kristie Costantino had a couple of fantastic defensive plays, especially one in the second half where she flew in to deflect a ball that would have been a sure fast break lay-up. Kim Hanlon committed pretty much all the fouls. She looked taller than she's listed, though that might have been in comparison to shorter teammates. I'm also considering the possibility that the roster listed on Iona's scorecard is inaccurate. Alyssa Coiro was tall and got inside well, though she took it kind of personally when Aaliyah Robinson got her hard on the inside (to be fair, it should have been a foul on Aaliyah) and checked her from behind. I think Stony Brook does have hockey, but playing hockey in the middle of a basketball game is uncalled for. Christy Scognamiglio managed to sneak in for offensive rebounds.
I know it's petty, but Sabre Proctor pronouncing her name "sa-BREE" makes me sad. Your name is a sword! You have an Awesome McCoolname, and you make it mundane? Okay, fine. She was solid for the Seawolves, hitting jumpers and holding down the fort in the first half. Brittany Snow is tall, and Stony Brook used her size well early, setting her up on the inside for easy, easy lay-ups. She was also active on the boards, using her height against smaller Gaels. (Which would be most of them.) Miranda Jenkins really didn't make much of an impact- Stony Brook went a little larger off the bench, and she was the odd woman out. Jessica Ogunnorin was pretty impressive, and would have been even more impressive if a lot of those pretty jumpers had gone in. She was a mismatch on both sides of the floor, getting to the basket with some speed on offense and guarding Damika Martinez on defense, making sure Damika had a lot of trouble getting the ball. Kori Bayne-Walker, possessor of another Awesome McCoolname (no, seriously, whenever I see Stony Brook, I am possessed with an urge to write a fantasy series called "Banewalker"), ran the offense- she's a very wide guard, hard to put most guards on, and she started finding her threes in the second half.
Stony Brook has better size than I remembered, and a better idea of how to use that size. I'm interested in how that low post game is going to work out against Albany- yes, Albany lost Craig, but they still have strong forwards.
Kristin Mahoney still looks like a freshman out there- and worse than a freshman. Maybe it was intentional (though I certainly hope not), but she was constantly moving to the ball instead of staying with a specific assignment on defense. That's high school gym class instincts there. Philecia Gilmore gave good minutes in the backcourt, though I was surprised that we didn't try to use her to defend Bayne-Walker and give our shooters a little more space to move comfortably. I like her instincts on the court. Cassidee Ranger tried to defend at the four (she's more of a three, IMO) and fired off one of her sweet threes from the corner. Aurellia Cammock took a little while to get her groove, but got her feet under her in the second half to pull down rebounds and defend down low. She's starting to show me something this year, and I like it.
I still think Marina Lizarazu is a capable point guard, but I'm starting to be less enamored of her style. She seems to be a slow-it-down, pound-the-dribble guard, or at least that's the system she's being told to run, and it's frustrating when you know how good the transition game can be with this team. Maybe it's a trust issue early in the season, and maybe it'll change. She had some beautiful passes when the game sped up, including a wrap-around pass to Joy Adams for a basket down low that got the crowd going. The aforementioned Joy got off to a slow start in the first half, but her teammates were able to find her more in the second half, and she really took off. She was badly out of position often at the defensive end, though. I thought one of her teammates was going to drag her into place at one point in the first half. Karynda DuPree had a gorgeous block and pulled down a couple of boards, but she needs to be more assertive on offense- there was one play where Damika rifled her a pass inside in perfect position for a lay-up- and she threw the ball back out to Marina so unexpectedly that Marina stood there and stared as the pass went out of bounds. (Bad play by both of them.) Aaliyah Robinson put up threes and didn't make too many mistakes- a lot of the time that's what Aaliyah's there for, to hold down the fort and keep everyone's keel even. Damika Martinez was hurting- she had an enormous bandage wrapped around her ribs in the pregame, and seemed to be moving stiffly. She went for three quickly, then went cold for a while, then started popping threes. She seemed to loosen up more in the second half, and padded her totals with cheap free throws at the end. I am okay with this.
Officiating was interesting. It always is. Tight, for the most part, but there was a fair amount of contact late that they let go.
I still worry about Iona, but I'm happy for Damika. 444 points to go..