St. John's Hosts No. 3/2 Connecticut For Saturday's BIG EAST Game Of The Week

Nadirah McKenith scored 21 points at Providence.

Feb. 1, 2013

St. John's (10-9, 4-3 BE) vs. No. 3/2 Connecticut (16-1, 9-1 BE)
Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013
Carnesecca Arena (5,602) | Queens, N.Y.

SNY/BIG EAST Game of the Week
PXP: Bob Picozzi | Analyst: LaChina Robinson

QUEENS, N.Y. - St. John's (10-9, 4-3 BIG EAST) and Connecticut meet for the 56th time in history on Saturday. The game is the BIG EAST Network's Game Of The Week as No. 3/2 Connecticut will play at Carnesecca Arena for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

Tip off is slated for 2 p.m. and will air regionally on SportsNet New York (SNY). Bob Picozzi and LaChina Robinson will be on the call from the sidelines. The game will also be available via WatchESPN on The game will be subject to black out in upstate New York, New York City, including parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, Boston, Providence and New Bedford.

Saturday's Tip Off Quick Hits
• Connecticut (19-1, 6-1 BIG EAST) is St. John's third-most played opponent in Red storm history. The series between St. John's and Seton Hall, which totals 62 games played is the most-played, followed by Providence with 57. Including UConn, St. John's has met two other teams more than 50 times with Syracuse (54 games) and Villanova (52 games).
• Saturday's game is St. John's first home game after a 1-1 road swing, which featured a close-call at Louisville and 65-51 come-from-behind victory at Providence (Jan. 30).
• Connecticut leads the series, 38-17. At home, UConn has just a six-game edge on St. John's, 16-10. St. John's won the last regular-season meeting against the Huskies, in a now-infamous upset victory in Gampel Pavilion on Feb. 18, 2012. Then-junior guard Shenneika Smith scored a game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds to defeat the Huskies, 57-56, ending UConn's 99-game home-court winning streak. Connecticut got their redemption in the BIG EAST Semifinals at the XL Center on March 5, and defeated St. John's 74-43.
• St. John's is just one of four schools to defeat Connecticut since the Huskies undefeated 2009-10 season. St. John's joins the established company of Stanford, Baylor and Notre Dame (five times) on the prestigious list. St. John's has also played against all three of those schools in the past three years.
• UConn is coming into Saturday's game on a seven-game winning streak. The only loss of the Huskies' season was against then-No. 5 Notre Dame 73-72 on Jan. 5.
• Against Providence, St. John's had four players score in double figures, led by Nadirah McKenith with 21 points.

Scouting the Huskies
• No. 3/2 Connecticut is 19-1 heading into Carnesecca Arena on Saturday. The Huskies' lone loss was against then-No. 5 Notre Dame on Jan. 5, 73-72.
• The Huskies' defeated then-No. 1 Stanford, 61-35, on Dec. 29.
• Connecticut leads the country in five categories: scoring offense (82.5), scoring defense (46.6), scoring margin (36.0), field-goal percentage defense (30.2) and win-lost percentage (95.0). Connecticut is also second in the country in field-goal percentage (49.4), assists per game (21.4) and assist-turnover ratio (1.52).
• Sophomore forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who leads the Huskies scoring efforts with 16.9 points per game, also leads the nation in three-point field goal percentage (50.8). Center Stephanie Dolson, who is third on the Huskies' roster in scoring with 13.8 points per game, leads the nation in field goal percentage (61.2).
• Along with Mosqueda-Lewis and Dolson, the Huskies have a well-balanced attack that includes rookie forward Breanna Stewart who averages 14.5 ppg and a team-best 7.0 rebounds per game and senior guard Kelly Faris with 10.4 ppg.
• Against ranked teams, Connecticut has defeated teams by an average of 23.6 points per game.
• In 2011-12 Connecticut made its 13th overall trip to the Final Four, the second-most appearances in the history of the sport.
• Connecticut is 7-0 on the road.

Red Storm vs. Huskies - The Series
• The Huskies lead the all-time series, 38-17, with most of the Red Storm's wins coming in the mid-1970s to the 1980s. St. John's won the first 11 meetings with Connecticut.
• The first meeting was on Jan. 26, 1978 at Alumni Hall (Queens, N.Y.). St. John's won 67-45.
• Until the national-headline grabbing upset-victory in Storrs, 57-56 on Feb. 18, 2012, the Huskies had won 26-straight games from 1993 through 2011. Before Feb. 18, St. John's last win was on Jan. 6, 1993, a three-point thriller that gave St. John's a 54-51 victory
Shenneika Smithhit the game-winning 3-pointer ended Connecticut's 99-game home-court winning streak last February. St. John's is one of only five teams who have won at Storrs since 1993, joining the elite-forces of Tennessee, Georgia, Notre Dame and Rutgers.

When Last They Met (Regular Season)
• On Feb. 18, the then-unranked Red Storm earned national headlines as St. John's put an end to Connecticut's 99-game home winning streak in Storrs, Conn. The unranked Red Storm defeated then-No. 2 Connecticut 57-56 as junior Shenneika Smith sunk a baseline 3-pointer with eight seconds left for the win. UConn had one final chance but Bria Hartley's 3-point attempt from the corner was short, bouncing off the rim and setting off a wild celebration by the Red Storm at midcourt.
• It was Connecticut's first home loss in 261 games.
• St. John's led Connecticut 34-32 at halftime.
• Then-junior Nadirah McKenith and then-senior Da'Shena Stevensled St. John's in scoring with 15 points each. McKenith added seven assists and just two turnovers and earned BIG EAST Player of the Week honors following the victory.

When Last They Met (BIG EAST Tournament Semifinals)
• Then-No. 13/21 St. John's was defeated by No. 4 Connecticut in the BIG EAST Tournament Semifinals at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. It was the Red Storm's first trip to the Semis since 1988.
Nadirah McKenith led the way for St. John's, the two seed in the tournament, with 10 points.. For No. 3 seed Connecticut, Stefanie Dolson scored 23 points and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis added 22 for the Huskies. At the time, the loss was a first for the Red Storm since Jan. 28.
• With 13:26 left in the first half, St. John's was short by just three points, 10-7. But Connecticut went on a 23-6 run over the next 10 minutes to widen the gap. At the half, Connecticut led 38-18.
• In the second period, Eugeneia McPherson scored eight points and Keylantra Langley contributed six key points off the bench. Classmate Briana Brown contributed 20 solid bench minutes, with four points, four rebounds and no turnovers.
• The Red Storm shot 13-for-15 from the free throw line. Combined, the Red Storm and the Huskies missed just five foul shots between them. Connecticut shot 15-for-18 from the free throw line.

Last Time At Carnesecca Arena
• The Huskies have not visited Carnesecca Arena since Feb. 11, 2009. Connecticut was ranked No. 1 and defeated St. John's 77-64.
• In the second half, St. John's cut a 20-point deficit to seven. STJ had trailed But the Huskies responded for the win.
• For St. John's, Da'Shena Stevens, then a freshman, scored a career-high 27 points.
• St. John's trailed 45-30 at the half. After being down 20, STJ went on a 13-0 run sparked by Stevens, who had two three-point plays during the spurt.
• Early on, the Red Storm traded baskets with Connecticut and found themselves only trailing 22-20 with 12:33 left in the first half.

Coaching Match Up
Joe Tartamella is 10-9 (.526), after making his coaching debut at the WBI Tip Off Invitational on Nov. 9-11. Tartamella earned his first-career coaching victory, 72-54, vs. UCF (Nov. 11). He earned his first-career BIG EAST victory at Rutgers on Jan. 6, 48-44.
• Tartamella has been part of the Red Storm coaching staff for the past nine years, moving up the ranks from graduate assistant to assistant coach to associate head coach; before he was hired as the eighth head coach in program history in April. He has been an integral part of four NCAA Tournaments appearances, with an undefeated record in the First Round, including St. John's run to its first-ever NCAA Sweet 16 in 2012.
• Huskies' head coach Geno Auriemma is coaching in his 28th season. He boasts a 823-130 (.864) record as the bench boss.

On This Date In St. John's History
• The last time St. John's played on Feb. 2 was against Georgetown in 2009-10. St. John's lost to Georgetown, 67-57 on the road.
• The last time St. John's won on Feb. 2 was against Marquette at home, 77-67 in 2008-09.
• Overall, St. John's is 6-8 when playing on Feb. 2.

McKenith Breaks The Assist Record
• At then-No. 13/12 Louisville on Jan. 27, senior point guard Nadirah McKenith broke St. John's all-time career assists record. McKenith had eight assists in the game, surpassing the record by two.
• The previous record was held by Janet Roos (1982-85) who had set the mark at 530.
• McKenith broke the record on an assist to Shenneika Smith who went in through the paint for a layup to give St. John's a 50-47 lead over Louisville with 7:19 left.
• Going into her senior season, McKenith averaged 146.7 assists/year. Through 18 games played in 2012-13, McKenith has 93 assists. She currently has 533 assists for her career.

• Senior guard Shenneika Smith continues to lead St. John's in scoring and rebounding with 16.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Smith has been St. John's leading scorer in 11 games so far this season and has reached the 20-point plateau seven times, including Sunday's game at then-No. 12/12 Louisville (Jan. 27). She has also been the leading rebounder in 10 games. For her 22.0-point average against Syracuse (Jan. 23) and Louisville, she was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll on Jan. 28. The accolade was Smith's fourth this season, third time on the Honor Roll.
• Senior guard Nadirah McKenith, who averages 13.1 points per game, has led STJ in scoring four times, while junior guard Briana Brown has been the game-high scorer once and sophomore forward Amber Thompson twice.
• Rookie guard Aliyyah Handford scored a career- and team-high 16 points against Delaware (Jan. 2), while adding seven rebounds, three steals and four assists. She tied her career-best effort at then-No. 13/12 Louisville (Jan. 27), shooting 7-for-12 from the field. In BIG EAST action, Handford is second in scoring with 12.1 ppg with a 51.5 field goal percentage. Handford also leads the team in steals during conference play with 15.
• In the past three games, Handford and McKenith each average 14.0 points per game, tied for second on the team.

Up Next
• St. John's will have a week hiatus before hosting Georgetown on Feb. 9 for Women In Sports Day at Carnesecca Arena. WISD will feature Olympic Gold Medalist Kerri Strug at the annual dinner.
• Tip off between the Hoyas and Red Storm is slated for 2 p.m. It will air on ESPN3.




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