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WBB: Storm healthy in time for league season

St. John's Nadirah McKenith (5) gets a defensive

St. John's Nadirah McKenith (5) gets a defensive rebound in front of Baylor's Jordan Madden (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game during the Maggie Dixon Basketball Classic. (Dec. 11, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

All of a sudden the St. John’s women’s Big East schedule doesn’t seem as daunting. That’s the way Red Storm coach Kim Barnes Arico said she feels now that she has her entire roster intact.

St. John’s welcomed Nadirah McKenith back to the active roster and Da’Shena Stevens to the starting lineup for Saturday’s 75-38 win over Boston University. Both missed games with knee injuries.

McKenith had missed three games with a sprained knee, while Steven missed the Red Storm’s first 10 games with a knee injury. Barnes Arico was the happiest of all to see to of her top players return, but she acknowledged things won’t completely change overnight.

Said Barnes Arico: “I think it’s going to take a little bit of time. Da’Shena has been rusty. Having her presence out there and her experience has made us a lot better, but she’s still not where she was.”

Neither McKenith (4 points) nor Stevens (2 points) had a great game, but having both players allowed the rest of the squad to get it going offensively. Eugeneia McPherson and Shenneika Smith had 15 points. Mary Nwachukwu had 11 points and freshman forward Amber Thompson added 10 points and nine rebounds.

St.John’s players agreed with Barnes Arico that just having their two top veteran players back made the offense flow better.

“I’m so glad to have [McKenith] back,” said McPherson. “She makes the game easier for everyone…I agree with coach saying it’s really nice to have everyone suited up for the game. It makes a lot of people’s jobs easier.”

St. John’s (8-6, 0-1 Big East) hosts Providence (8-6, 0-1) in a Big East game on Wednesday.


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