St. John's coach Kim Barnes Arico

St. John's Big East season is over, but its second season hasn't even begun.

The No.4 Red Storm (24-6) fell, 75-67, to fifth-seeded Notre Dame (27-4) in a Big East quarterfinal Sunday.

St. John's coach Kim Barnes Arico wasn't happy with the loss, but admitted there is some solace in the fact that her team is a lock for the NCAA Tournament. Selection night is Monday, March 15. Barnes Arico said the team will gather at the ESPN Zone to watch the national telecast.

With just one regular set to graduate (Kelly McManmon), Barnes Arico is excited about the program's direction. "This season says a lot about the future," Barnes Arico said. "Notre Dame's a perennial powerhouse. We are the new kids on the block...We are here to stay."

It's St. John's second NCAA appearance in the last five years. The Red Storm advanced to the second round of the tournament in 2006 and fell to eventual national champion Maryland.

As for the game, St. John's missed a golden opportunity to move up the NCAA seed ladder. "They went to the free throw line a lot in the second half," said Barnes Arico, whose squad led 63-59 with 5:19 to go. "We committed a bunch of fouls."

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Freshman guard Shenneika Smith led St. John's with 23 points. Da'Shena Stevens added 14 points, but fouled out late in the second half.