Postgame Quotes: No. 20/25 St. John's 63 - RV/RV West Virginia 54

Junior point guard Nadirah McKenith tied a career-high with 26 points, including 11 from the free throw line, against the Mountaineers.

Feb. 21, 2012

Recap |  Box Score |  Notes

St. John’s Head Coach Kim Barnes Arico

Opening statement:
“I really didn’t know what to expect after the other night against UConn. I knew our team looked really tired the last couple of days, I was really proud of the way we were able to grind out the game. They went on that big run and we lost Nadirah and Mary which really hurt us but our team stepped up and made big plays down the stretch so it’s a great win for us. West Virginia is always a terrific program so this is a great win especially after the UConn game because we could have had let down. I’m really proud of the way that they were able to grind it out and they get a well deserved day off tomorrow.”

On the past week:
“It’s been a really exciting time and our philosophy has been don’t look ahead, worry about the next game and prepare for the next game. With the win over Connecticut, that was a little different because that doesn’t happen, ever. For our program to be able do that, where we came from when these players joined our program, to where we are now is something I want them to savor for the rest of their lives. We’ve had an opportunity to really enjoy it but it’s been a whirlwind for the last couple of days. I know I haven’t slept for a couple of days and I’m sure the same is true for them. Not many programs in the country say that they have had a week like we just had.”

On West Virginia’s late comeback:
“I didn’t know if we could hold on, I really didn’t. I was looking for an answer and Nadirah was the answer. She single handedly made our run with her lay-ups. We were having difficulty scoring against them and we were getting stops but they were getting offensive rebounds and second chance opportunities so we needed someone who could score. Nadirah went on that spurt to bring the lead back to 10 which gave us a second chance. But I wasn’t sure for a period there if we were going to be able to hold on and I’m so proud that we did.”



On the way the team has reacted to the strength of schedule:
“This schedule is by far the toughest that we have ever had. I really didn’t like when we were losing because we didn’t have Nadirah and Da’Shena [Stevens] at times so we took some losses early that took us out of the top 25. But if we keep going the way we’re going, I would look back and say that it has prepared us and gave us a lot of experience.”

Junior Guard Nadirah McKenith

On her offensive outburst:
“I’m kind of a pass first point guard so I get my teammates involved first and if it opens up for me then that’s when I take control of the game and I try to score when my team needs it.”

On coming back from her second half injury:
“When the trainer was stretching my calf muscle I had seen West Virginia take the momentum of the game and I knew I needed to go back out there and help my team. I went out there still cramping and helped the team.”

On being left off the finalists list for the Nancy Lieberman award:
“It did bother me for a little but I had to get over it and prove everybody wrong and lead my team.”

Junior Guard Shenneika Smith

On the quick turnaround following Saturday’s win at then-No. 2 UConn:
“It was definitely tough. Coach gave us some rest during these last two days of practice. We still had to go through everything to get ready for West Virginia, but she really took it easy on us in practice to rest our bodies. We had to set the momentum in the beginning and coming out strong was our goal. We had to set the tone and we had to be physical. West Virginia is a physical team. They play up the lane a lot so we had to use our bodies to get open so it was tough.”

On the momentum heading into Saturday’s game against Villanova:
“It’s always about momentum. Winning is important in this league, whether it’s by one point or 10. Our new motto is, “the next game is our biggest game.” We’re going to take the day off tomorrow to rest our bodies and come ready to work on Thursday to get ready for Villanova. We’re not thinking ahead, we’re just thinking about Villanova right now.”

West Virginia Head Coach Mike Carey

Opening Statement:
“St. John’s came out and played harder than we did. The first four minutes they set the tone. We stood around taking punches and they were the ones throwing the punches. The second half we played a little harder. We were down 13 at halftime and we fought back and cut it to one then we let them score nine-straight points to extend the lead back to 10. We weren’t ready to play and I take responsibility. I never dreamed that we wouldn’t be ready to play in those first four minutes, but that’s my responsibility to have them ready.”

On the BIG EAST Conference:
“This is the fifth-straight ranked team we played. There aren’t a lot of conferences where you’ll play five-straight teams that are ranked. This league is very tough; make no doubt about it. Connecticut has a great recruiting class coming in next year and so does Notre Dame. St. John’s is young, they have a bunch of juniors and they’re going to be very good. They’re going to be a lot of very good teams next year in the BIG EAST.”

Redshirt Junior Center Ayana Dunning

On the game:

“I think we came out flat and kind of complacent. They jumped and got out to an early lead on us. It was 13-4 at one point. The biggest thing between the first and second half was our defense. We let them get a lot of easy shots. They got to the basket a lot and that gave them plenty of high-percentage shots.”


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