March 1, 2008
In dramatic fashion, the St. John's women's basketball team defeated Cincinnati, as Kia Wright hit two free throws with 10.4 seconds remaining to seal the 49-47 victory and clinch a spot in the BIG EAST Championship Tournament.
With the victory, the Red Storm improved to 15-13, 6-9 BIG EAST. The six league wins secures the postseason spot, but the team will have to wait for its final seeding.
Monique McLean was the lone St. John's player to score in double figures, turning in a 10-point performance. The junior was just shy of posting a double-double with a team-best eight rebounds. Wright tallied seven points in the contest, all of which came in the second half. Recee Mitchell also finished with seven points on perfect 3-for-3 shooting.
Both teams' offenses were slow at the game's start, combining for six points in the opening four minutes. The Red Storm went ahead 8-4 when Joy McCorvey drew double-coverage and fed the ball to an open Tiina Sten for the layup at 14:23. Cincinnati (11-16, 2-13 BIG EAST) did not stay down for long as it took its first lead of the game when Jill Stephens hit a jumper at 11:36, to make it 10-9. Mitchell quickly countered and put the lead back into St. John's hands when she hit a jumper of her own at 10:35.
A back-and-forth affair ensued until the Bearcats took their largest lead, 23-17, with 1:03 to play in the first half. Kelly McManmon cut the deficit in half going into the locker room, connecting on a 3-pointer from the baseline with 47 seconds to go.
With the score 30-25 in UC's favor in the second half, the Red Storm went on a 7-0 run to take the lead for the first time in the final period, 32-20. McCorvey got things going with an easy layup, and then McLean stole the ball and scored on a reverse one-handed layup. After a missed Bearcat basket, McManmon hit her second trey to put the team ahead.
The score remained close the rest of the way as the teams traded baskets and the lead. With UC leading 47-45 with 1:53 to go, Wright made a steal and scored on a pull-up jumper to tie the contest. The Red Storm forced another turnover on the next Bearcat possession, and Wright got the ball and was fouled. She nailed both attempts to lift the Red Storm to victory.
On Monday, St. John's will celebrate senior day in the team's home finale against Notre Dame. Tip-off is slated for 7:05 p.m.