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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Second half spurt sends St. John's past Lady Cards


-Louisville gets "Mac attacked" in 72-64 loss

Eugenia McPherson had 16 points and Nadirah McKenith added 15 to lead the St. John's Red Storm past Louisville in the Carnesecca Arena Sunday afternoon by eight points. The Red Storm utilized a 16-6 second half run over seven minutes to turn a 43-43 tie into a 59-49 advantage with 4:39 left. The Cards would get no closer than six the rest of the way.


Shoni, Bria Smith, Asia Taylor, Sherrone Vails, Becky Burke.

The Lady Cards came out strong to open today's game, zipping out to a 5-0 lead in the first 2:30...all on Bria Smith scores. It was the largest lead Louisville would have all day. St. John's would respond with a 8-0 run of their own, though taking a 8-5 advantage after McPherson cashed in on two free throws with 15:37 left in the first half. The Lady Cards would battle back...a Shoni putback, Shawnta Dyer inside score and Bria Smith steal and layup gave the Lady Cards a 13-10 advantage at 13:10.

Bria had 11 in the
first half for UofL
And...that's the way the first half continued to go. St. John's tied it at 13-13, Becky Burke drilled a three to put Louisville back up. The Cards trailed 20-16 at the 6:51 mark, but back-to-back threes from Burke and Jude Schimmel put them back up by two with five minutes to go. A Smith steal and lay-in made it 24-20 Cards. Once again, here came the Red Storm, though...outscoring Louisville 8-3 over the final four minutes to take a 28-27 lead to the locker room. 

Louisville had 11 first half points from Bria...Burke had 6 on two 3-pointers and Jude contributed five off the bench to lead the Cards. Shenneika Smith's defense on Shoni had her limited to just two first half points and 1-7 shooting.

Louisville and St. John's both shot 11-28 from the floor for 39.3% shooting, both squads had seven turnovers and St. John's led the rebounding battle 20-16. Louisville's guards had 24 of the team's 27 points and Walz played everyone but Shelby Harper in the first twenty minutes.

The Lady Cards were missing layups and inside shots, standing around on offense and if it wasn't for Louisville's 8-2 advantage on points off turnovers, the margin could have been greater. Still, UofL was in it, on the road and battling. 

Becky Burke got Louisville back into the lead with a 3-ball ten seconds into the second half but SJU tied it up seconds later. The teams went back and forth for the first five minutes of action, the Johnnies going up 41-37 when Mary Nwachokwu scored inside at 14:10. Bria and Cierra Warren hit back to back jumpers to tie it, though and Shawnta Dyer took a pass from Shoni and scored to knot it at 43-43 with 12:12 on the clock.

That's when the wheels fell off the wagon for the Lady Cards.

A McPherson basket and free throw put St. John's up to stay. Da'Shena Stevens connected on two charity tosses to make it 48-43. Bria sank two foul line tosses to cut it to three...but the teams traded hoops and a Stevens jumper with 7:47 remaining started St. John's on a 7-0 run that pushed them to a 57-49 advantage when Shenneika Smith hit her second three of the season to give SJU a 57-49 margin with 5:08 on the clock.

Bria Smith picked up her 5th foul at 4:39 to go and Nwachokwu hit both free throws to make it 59-49. Warren countered with two straight scores inside for the Lady Cards and a Shoni drive got UofL within six at 61-55...but the Cards couldn't stop the Red Storm defensively and three straight SJU scoring possessions had Louisville on the short end of a 67-55 score with less than a minute to go. The Lady Cards started pressing, got scores from Jude and two from Burke to cut it to 68-61 with 30 seconds left..but the Red Storm hit their free throws the rest of the way and led 72-61 before a meaningless buzzer beating three by Burke made the final 72-64.

Burke led the Lady Cards with 19 points and was 5 for 8 from beyond the arc. Bria Smith ended with 17 to complete the Lady Cards in double figures. Shoni  and Warren had eight each, Jude finished with seven, Shawnta Dyer contributed four and Nita Slaughter ended up with one. Taylor, Vails, Harper and Hammond all played but did not score.

Besides the "Macs" in double figures for SJU, Smith had 11 for them and Stevens had 9 points and 10 grabs. St. John shot 44% for the game, Louisville
finished at 40%. The Cards were 6-18 from trifecta land, went 8-12 from the stripe (compared to SJU's 17-27) and had 15 turnovers.

The Cards weren't aggressive enough on defense over the final 12 minutes and Shoni never got into a rhythm due to the stellar defense Smith played on her. Rebounding today was a particular woe...Louisville losing the boards battle 43-33 to the athletic Red Storm.

A somber Jeff Walz touched on a few areas in post game comments, expressing his disappointment in the Lady Cards second half performance, particularly in team defense and defensive rebounding. He wasn't pleased with the Cards passing and assist numbers either and planned on reviewing the game film and doing some teaching when the Cards practice Monday.'s a Lady Cards team that had the opportunity to get a key, early season conference road win against an experienced and improving foe...but couldn't stop the slashing, penetrating Red Storm when it came to crunch time.

Louisville (13-3) returns to play Wednesday night against USF....who knocked off a good Providence team yesterday. The Lady Cards need to turn it around quickly...a nice overall performance by returning freshman Bria Smith today in front of probably less than 1000 fans....but a road loss that could have been prevented with a little more solid defense, board effort and inside play. Out of Louisville's 64 points...51 came from the guards.


Congratulations to CARDINAL COUPLE Special Correspondent David Watson who wins the $25 Panera Card with his pick of 71-70 St. John's in the contest. He was one of only five to pick the Red Storm. Gee, we got a smart staff!

(We wish he'd been way off today, though...)

We'll do it again for the Wednesday contest against USF. Just e-mail your score and team you think will win to us at
Entries in before tipoff Wednesday night, please. We got a close one at 1:45 p.m. today that came in second but was too late and not elgibile.

Get the winner right and get closest to the final score and nab a $25 Panera Gift Card. We'll run the contest as long as the supply of cards holds out...

1 comment:

  1. In case you're interested, the Game Notes of Doom are up. As always, biased towards SJU, but I did try to pay attention to your team for you.


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