No. 6/7 Notre Dame Edges No. 16 St. John's, 75-67|
March 7, 2010
HARTFORD, Conn. - Shenneika Smith scored 23 points to lead four St. John's women's basketball players that reached double figures in scoring, but No. 6/7 Notre Dame hung on for the 75-67 win in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship held at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., on Sunday.
This was the second meeting of the year between the fourth-seeded and No. 16-ranked Red Storm and the fifth-seeded Irish. STJ won the regular-season contest, pulling off the 76-71 upset victory over then-No. 4/3 Notre Dame on Feb. 16.
Smith had had a stellar performance in her first BIG EAST Championship game, scoring 16 points in the opening frame to finish as the game's leading scorer. The 23-point performance tied the second-highest scoring effort of the year for the Brooklyn, N.Y., native. The rookie was 10-of-16 from the field and 3-of-4 from the free throw line.
Da'Shena Stevens was the Red Storm's second-leading scorer with a 14-point performance. The sophomore contributed eight points in the opening half, and finished the game with a game-high-tying three steals.
Kelly McManmon had a strong performance off the bench, connecting on 4-of-5 attempts beyond the arc to finish with 12 points. The game was the 13th double-digit scoring effort of the season for the senior.
Rookie point guard Nadirah McKenith nearly recorded a double-double with 10 points and nine assists. With her assists in the game, McKenith moved into 10th place in the Red Storm single-season record books with 151 helpers.
The game was close from the start, as the teams matched basket for basket. After Notre Dame (27-4) took an 18-11 advantage, Stevens stole the ball and scored a layup on a fast break to ignite a 17-6 run that gave the Red Storm the 28-24 lead. A back-and-forth affair ensued the rest of the half, and STJ (24-6) went into the break with the 36-32 lead.
The Irish opened the second half on a run and took a 47-45 lead with 14:17 remaining, but McManmon drained one of her four treys on the next possession to put STJ up by one. The game stayed close as the score was tied four times and the lead changed hands four times. With the score knotted at 63, Ashley Barlow sank two free throws to give Notre Dame the lead at the 4:07 mark. After the Irish went up by eight, 71-63, the Red Storm tried to rally and came within four, but ND held on for the win.