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Dynamic duo dominates for St. John's

Just the Facts, Ma'am: Aliyyah Handford dropped 14 of her game-high 25 points in the second half to fuel a late run by the Red Storm and a 67-52 win for St. John's over Marquette. Danaejah Grant added 15 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists. Arlesia Morse's 17 led the Golden Eagles. For lovely weather, the only time you will ever see Aliyyah Handford hesitate, moves like Jagger, kicks like fire, and supporters' scarves, join your intrepid and rejuvenated blogger after the jump.

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, boys and girls! Lovely weather for a basketball game today, isn't it? Or, at least, lovely weather to be inside where the rain isn't. St. John's is looking to rebound from that collapse in OT against DePaul, as the other half of the Great Lakes travel pod comes to town in the form of the Golden Eagles of Marquette.

At least Marquette has gotten ride of the fruit salad on their uniforms. That white/yellow/light blue/dark blue checkerboard effect wasn't working for them.

We'll see if the Queen Mother puts in an appearance. We gave her my husband's ticket, but she tends to bail on me when there's bad weather.

Tonoia Wade's sneakers today are shiny, iridescent like the surface of a soap bubble. Very cool.

I know we're all supposed to make like we didn't see it, but Aliyyah Handford tripped over her own feet on the way back to the locker room. Oh, dear. This is going to be one of those days, isn't it?

O HAI DERE BRI. Briana Brown is on the court, dressed all fancy-like and talking to a couple of the ancillary staff. If we're bringing her in as a graduate assistant, this is a good plan and the team should feel good for doing it. If they're just letting her shoot around on the court, then that's fun too, but she usually comes to games in sweats, so if she's dressed all fancy, there's a reason. Still got that three-point shot, too.

You know, I don't think this "official beer" thing is going to work out well. Could be wrong. Often am.

Anthem singer was technically competent, but sounded unfortunately like Fran Drescher doing a Michael Jackson impersonation.

Apparently Amber Thompson moved to Philadelphia over the weekend. She was announced as being from Philly today. Don't think that went over well with her family.

30-28 St. John's at half, and a little tighter than it needed to be. Joe's gone too far the other way on trusting the freshmen, running out three of them and Kyra Dunn to go with Aliyyah Handford late in the game.

Danaejah, arguing with refs doesn't work. Stoppit.

The Queen Mother has arrived. Our long national nightmare is over.

I think Briana is actually apprenticing as timekeeper or radio person or something. She's got a headset. Whatever. Briana Brown being involved with St. John's basketball again can only be good.

Some second half we had! It was nice to see the reserves getting some time there.

Marquette actually ran pretty deep into their bench most of the game, but that might have had more to do with the foul trouble that pretty much all the posts were in. Lauren Tibbs wasn't afrai to throw her weight around- she made a couple of tough plays near the basket in a row in the second half, but also kind of casually shoved players around. McKayla Yentz had a fantastic read on an offensive rebound... which, unfortunately for Marquette, led to the charge. (And that, at least, was a good call. There were a few dicey ones throughout.) Hannah Grim saw time near the end of the halves, but was unmemorable. Cristina Bigica came in later than I was expecting and was mostly taking threes. The band enjoyed getting on her case. I don't know why. Shantelle Valentine played a very physical game down low. You can check people up in Canada, eh, but not in basketball.

Arlesia Morse was hitting threes and had an offensive surge in the second half- I think she was trying to do the senior leadership thing. Chelsie Butler was very physical- it's hard to believe she didn't realize she elbowed Jade Walker right in the... er, upper chest. She threw the elbows around freely. Tia Elbert might be small, but she's fast. She was very disruptive on defense. Kenisha Bell, physically, reminds me of Aliyyah Handford- not as athletic, but since 99.9% of the human race isn't as athletic as Aliyyah Handford, that's the opposite of a backhanded compliment. She's got a nice jumper and good size- she'll be a nice piece for them. Apiew Ojulu was limited by fouls, but showed her rebounding ability along the baseline, using long arms to disrupt the ball.

Marquette isn't necessarily a bad team per se, but they don't seem to do anything particularly well. That may well come with time. At some point, they'll probably learn not to drive directly into a shot blocker.

Imani Littleton needs to pay more attention on the court. If she keeps her head in the game, maybe she'll be in the game a little more. Tamesha Alexander looked good running the offense in the second half. She looks much more confident than she did in the beginning of the year. Tonoia Wade was really active on the glass and more assertive on offense. Speaking of players who have blossomed as the year has gone on... Tonoia looks like she's found herself. Early for it, and I love it. Kyra Dunn played briefly, which excited a couple of people in front of us, and attempted to rebound. Sox Alexander needs to realize that Kyra doesn't have the hands for the alley-oop pass, though. Crystal Simmons subbed for Danaejah Grant and looked okay, though she needs a little more court awareness, and possibly a translator (no, I don't know how good her day-to-day conversational English is, but she didn't seem to be hearing the bench instructions correctly).

Aaliyah Lewis has such phenomenal body control. I swear she has those Neo-in-the-Matrix moves sometimes. Jade Walker had the jumper going early, plus a nifty lay-in down low, but got caught looking at her shot a bit in the second half. And, of course, if there's an opportunity to call Jade for a foul, a foul will be called on Jade. Amber Thompson held her ground down low. She attracted Marquette shooters like moths to an open flame, and when they came she swatted them. They got some good boxouts on her, but not all the time, because one does not stop Amber Thompson, one merely slows her down. Danaejah Grant was relatively quiet,for her- heated up in the second half, enough to get some of the defensive pressure off Aliyyah. And of course, Aliyyah Handford just continues to be awesome. Her jumper was working (and I swear, by senior year she's going to have a three-pointer), she cut through the lane like a hot knife through butter, she flashed out on defense for steals, she threw quick passes... right now, my biggest problem with Aliyyah is that I'm running out of words.

The best part, of course, is that barring wildly unforeseen circumstances, we get another year of Aliyyah and Danaejah.

I did not know until I looked at the box score that we had Linda Miles as a ref! I don't remember her Rutgers days, but I remember that she was a Scarlet Knight, and then she was a wrestler, and now she's a ref, and she's not a bad ref. She seems to be taking in a lot from the senior refs she works with. I like that kind of attention from a ref. As a whole, the crew did a pretty good job today- honestly, I think we got the better of the calls on infractions.

Dads and Daughters day at Carnesecca, so all the timeout activities were father-daughter duos. I was disappointed in the shooting form on the shooting challenge.

I thought Joe went to the bench too early, but I was proven wrong. It's nice to see the freshmen getting some run and proving that they can play a little on the D-I level. Heaven knows we're going to need them.