If there were ever a statement game, the St. John’s women’s matchup against No.14 Louisville was it. Fresh off blowout wins over Boston University and Providence, the Red Storm needed a quality win against a quality opponent.
St. John’s got that in a 72-64 win over Louisville. What fans saw yesterday was an example of what Red Storm (10-6, 2-1 Big East) are like when they are healthy. It was only the third time this season St. John’s coach Kim Barnes Arico had a full roster at her disposal.
Senior forward Da’Shena Stevens (knee) missed the first 10 games of the season and point guard Nadirah McKenith missed three games. It was a strain on the roster, which was a bit thin to begin with after Amanda Burakoski transferred.
Said Barnes Arico: “We came into the year as a preseason ranked team, but losing Da’Shena was a devastating blow. Amber [Thompson] has gotten so much better and Mary [Nwachukwu] has gotten so much better probably due to the experience that they were able to get with Da’Shena out. We obviously weren’t the same team.”
Thompson and Nwachukwu have both found their offense in the absence of Stevens and McKenith. So has North Babylon graduate Eugeneia McPherson, who is the team’s leading scorer. Even with the increase in production from McPherson, Nwachukwu and Thompson, it’s great to have everyone back on the court.
“This second half is a new season,” said McKenith. “I’m glad we have our whole team out and get a chance to play St. John’s basketball with all of our pieces to the puzzle out there.”
“It’s very nice to have a lot more options out there,” said McPherson. “Like Nadirah said, all the pieces of the puzzle are out there now; that makes it easier on each one of us.”
St. John’s new outlook on the season will be put to the test in the coming months. Through the end of January, the Red Storm will face Syracuse, Marquette, No.10 Rutgers, Cincinnati, No.3 Notre Dame and Pittsburg.