Jan. 3, 2009
NEW YORK - Monique McLean scored a game-high 28 points, Centhya Hart added 11 and Da'Shena Stevens recorded a double-double as the St. John's women's basketball team defeated Providence, 57-52, on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in the teams' BIG EAST opener.
"I believe that the BIG EAST is the toughest league in the country," said coach Kim Barnes Arico. "Playing against Providence, I knew the game was going to go down to the wire. I knew they were going to battle back. I was happy with the way we finished and that we were able to come away with the win. It was a terrific way to start the BIG EAST season."
With the win, the Red Storm improves to 13-1, 1-0 BIG EAST, while the Friars' record drops to 6-7, 0-1 BIG EAST.
McLean got off to a stellar start in the game and scored 18 of her season-high 28 points in the first half. The senior was 8-of-15 from the floor, 5-of-7 from 3-point range and 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Her five treys tie for 10th in the Red Storm single-game record books. Strong on the defensive side as well, she grabbed six rebounds.
Stevens recorded her third double-double of the season with a 10-point, 11-rebound effort. The rookie had a strong second half, scoring seven points and grabbing seven rebounds. Stevens finished the game going 4-of-13 from the field and 2-of-4 from the charity stripe.
Hart was one point shy of tying her career best with an 11-point performance, seven of which came in the first half. The sophomore was 4-of-8 from the field and 3-of-4 from the free throw line, in addition to finishing with seven rebounds.
After the Friars took a 3-0 lead, Sky Lindsay put STJ on the board with a pull-up jumper at 17:32. A back and forth affair followed and PC had the 15-12 edge at 11:57. On the next play, Hart hit a layup and McLean nailed a trey to spark a 15-0 run that put the Red Storm up 27-15 at 7:36.
McLean's 18-point first-half, which included four 3's, gave the Red Storm a 33-21 lead at the end of the opening frame.
St. John's maintained its double-digit lead through most of the second half. Trinity Hull scored consecutive baskets within 17 seconds to pull the Friars within eight at 4:47, 52-44. Stevens put STJ back in front by double-digits when she followed through on a hard-fought layup on the next play.
Providence tried to rally and came within four points twice in the final two minutes of regulation, but St. John's held on for the win.
The Red Storm will continue BIG EAST action on Saturday when it travels to face the University of South Florida at 7 p.m.