Despite Early Lead, St. John's Falls to Duke 74-47 in Sweet 16

Monday, March 26, 2012

“What you created here is magic,” Head Coach Kim Barnes Arico told St. John’s University’s women’s basketball team before their first-ever Sweet 16 game on March 24. “Let’s keep it going.”

Despite a record-breaking season that drew national attention, the Red Storm’s magic did not prevail against No. 2 Duke. St. John’s fell to the Blue Devils by a score of 74-47 in Fresno, CA.

The Red Storm scored the first bucket and maintained an early lead. But they lost momentum by the end of the first half. With five points and two assists by Duke’s senior guard Shay Selby, the taller Blue Devils were 13 points ahead early in the second half, quickly acheiving a 20-point lead.

Expressing pride in “the best season for our program in its history,” Coach Barnes Arico said Duke “played exceptionally well” and wished the Blue Devils success as they move forward to the Elite Eight.

“We came out of the gates great,” Coach Barnes Arico observed. “They switched up their defense, and that gave us some problems.” She also cited Duke’s “ability to score from multiple positions” and “forced turnovers, which caused some easy baskets for them and took us out of our game.”

“I think we just came out of momentum and lost it,” said senior forward Da’Shena Sevens. “The turnovers really hurt us.” Stevens scored 19 points in her final game for St. John’s.

Junior guard Nadirah McKenith pulled down 11 rebounds and had eight assists. McKenith made the winning, coast-to-coast basket against Creighton on March 18.

St. John’s run in the 2012 NCAA Tournament marked many firsts for the women’s team. This was the first time they were selected as a No. 3 seed. In addition, Coach Barnes Arico — now in her 10th season — became the program's “winningest” coach on Feb. 12, when the Red Storm defeated then-No 17/16 Rutgers by 61-52.

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