No. 2 Seed St. John's Ready For BIG EAST Championship Action

Da'Shena Stevens and head coach Kim Barnes Arico at BIG EAST Awards Ceremony

March 3, 2012

No. 2 St. John's vs. No. 7 Louisville/No. 10 Villanova
Quarterfinal Sunday, March 4, 2012
XL Center (16,294) | Hartford, Conn.  
PXP: Bob Picozzi | Analyst: LaChina Robinson

HARTFORD, Conn. - St. John's secured the No. 2 seed in the 2012 BIG EAST Championships, presented by American Eagle Outfitters, as announced by conference officials on Monday night. The No. 2 seed is the highest seeding the Red Storm has received during the Kim Barnes Arico Era at St. John's. In the previous nine years, St. John's highest seeding was No. 4.

Tournament Tip Off Quick Hits
• As the No. 2 seed, the Red Storm received a bye to the Quarterfinals in the annual postseason tournament. BIG EAST Conference officials released the bracket Monday night, following the conclusion of the final regular season games. The BIG EAST Championships will be held at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., Friday, March 2 through Tuesday, March 6.
• The Red Storm secured the No. 2 seed after defeating Georgetown in Washington, D.C. on Monday afternoon and with Notre Dame defeating Connecticut later that evening. The 13 league wins by the 2011-12 squad broke the record for the most in St. John's program history.
• St. John's (21-8, 13-3 BIG EAST) will play the winner of the semifinal match up between the No. 7 seed Louisville (21-8, 10-6) and No. 10 Villanova (16-13, 6-10)/No. 15 Seton Hall (8-22, 1-15). Game time is slated for 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 4. The game will be broadcast live on SportsNet New York (SNY) via BIG EAST TV. Bob Picozzi and LaChina Robinson will be on the call with host and sideline reporter Allison Williams.
• The Red Storm is 3-0 in regular season play over opponents in its bracket. St. John's has been streaking through the last two months of 2012, winning its last eight-straight games. St. John's last loss was against then-No. 2 Notre Dame on Jan. 28, 71-56.

Barnes Arico Named 2012 BIG EAST Coach of the Year
• On Friday, March 2, head coach Kim Barnes Arico was voted the 2012 BIG EAST Coach of the Year as announced by the league officials at the postseason awards press conference at the XL Center. The Coach of the Year award is the second for Barnes Arico who also was COY in 2006.
• On Thursday, Barnes Arico was named to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association National Coach of the Year watch list.
• Barnes Arico will be interviewed live by Allison Williams during halftime of the BIG EAST Championship Second Round match up between No. 7 Louisville and No. 10 Villanova. Game time is slated for 6 p.m. (ET).

Stevens Named American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year
• St. John's senior forward Da'Shena Stevens was selected as the American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. Announced at Friday's postseason awards press conference, Stevens was awarded a $2,000 scholarship for post graduate or professional studies. She was chosen for her commitment to both basketball and her education as well as character and community service. Stevens is the first-ever St. John's student-athlete to win this prestigious honor.
• On Thursday, the BIG EAST also announced Stevens as the winner of the 2012 Sportsmanship Award. Stevens shared the award with DePaul's Deanna Ortiz. Stevens is also the first-ever St. John's student-athlete to earn this award.

2012 All-BIG EAST Teams Announced, Four STJ Players Make The Cut
• On March 1, the BIG EAST announced the members of the 2012 All-Conference teams. St. John's had four players total honored with Shenneika Smith on the first team, Da'Shena Stevens and Nadirah McKenith on the second team and Amber Thompson selected to the All-Freshman squad.
• It was Stevens' third-straight year on the all-conference list as she was a second team member in 2011 and earned first team honors in 2010. She was also the 2009 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year. Smith makes the all-conference lists for the second-straight season after earning second team honors with Stevens in 2011. McKenith makes her first appearance on the all-conference teams.
• Smith, McKenith and Stevens all received All-Freshman team accolades during their respective first seasons of play.
• The last time St. John's had three members selected to the all-conference teams was during the 1990-91 season when Cozette Ballentine was named to first team All-BIG EAST and Margaret McKeon and Tina Ogden were selected to the second team.

Red Storm Season Quick Hits
• St. John's is 5-3 against top 25 foes overall and 3-1 against ranked teams on the road.
• The Red Storm has been a road warrior in the conference this season, winning its last seven-consecutive BIG EAST games away from Queens. The only time St. John's lost on the road in league play this season was on Dec. 7, 2011 at then-No. 20/21 DePaul.
• Since returning a fully healthy roster on Dec. 31, the Red Storm has won 14 of its last 16 games. St. John's is 16-3 with senior forward Da'Shena Stevens back from her early-season injury. She returned Dec. 17. With Stevens back in the lineup, St. John's average margin of victory increased by 6.0 ppg.
• On Monday, Feb. 20, St. John's made its first appearance in the Associated Press Poll since Jan. 3, 2011 as No. 20. On Feb. 27, the Red Storm moved up to No. 18, No. 21 in the ESPN-USA Today Coaches Poll.
• On Feb. 20, Nadirah McKenith became St. John's first BIG EAST Player of the Week since Monique McLean (Jan. 5, 2009) following her all-around performance at UConn. On Feb. 27, Da'Shena Stevensearned her third BIG EAST Honor Roll accolade this season.

STJ's BIG EAST Championship Resume
• 2012 will be St. John's 12th trip to the annual league championship. St. John's is 19-24 overall in the BIG EAST Championships and has appeared in the Quarterfinals 19 times, the Semifinals five times and earned three BIG EAST Championship Titles on three Finals appearances. The last time the Red Storm won a BIG EAST Championship was in 1988, when the Red Storm defeated Syracuse, 74-72, in overtime in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Last Time At The BIG EAST Championships
• St. John's was the No. 7 seed in the 2011 BIG EAST Championships and received a bye in the first round. In the second round, St. John's got its revenge on West Virginia defeating the Mountaineers, 59-51 in Hartford, Conn. at the XL Center after losing 69-49 in the 2011 regular season final. It was the first win over West Virginia since 2006, when STJ defeated the Mountaineers at Madison Square Garden. Da'Shena Stevens (14 points) scored in double figures for the 19th time that season and Shenneika Smith (13 points) for the fourth-consecutive game. STJ outscored WVU 12-4 in second-chance points. The game was tied eight times.
• Playing on back-to-back days, the Red Storm let an early lead by No. 2 seed DePaul get the better of the squad in the Quarterfinals. STJ had a second-half run that cut DePaul's lead to six, 61-54, but five made free throws in the final minute helped ice the game for the Blue Demons, 66-54.
• Stevens led the way for all St. John's scorers during the league tournament overall with 12.0 ppg and 7.0 rebounds per game. Nadirah McKenithaided Stevens with 10.0 ppg. Smith led the team in rebounding with 7.5 per game.

Barnes Arico at The BIG EAST Championships
• 10th-year St. John's head coach Kim Barnes Arico holds a 3-8 record at the BIG EAST Championships. She has led the Red Storm to nine-consecutive appearances since she took over the program in 2002-03. Her first appearance in the BIG EAST Championships was in 2004. No. 11-seed St. John's lost to No. 6-seed West Virginia, 84-59, on March 6, 2004 in Hartford, Conn.
• Barnes Arico has led St. John's to the Quarterfinals four times, including last year. Her first BIG EAST Championship win was over Seton Hall in 2005. St. John's defeated Seton Hall, 45-42, in the First Round of the league tournament (March 5) held in Hartford, Conn. That year also marked Barnes Arico's first trip to the Quarterfinals, where STJ lost to No. 1 seed Rutgers, 69-45.
• Newly-minted the all-time winningest coach in St. John's women's basketball history, Barnes Arico boasts a record of 173-132 (.567). She broke the coaching wins record with a 61-52 upset victory at then-No. 17/16 Rutgers on Feb. 12. Earlier that week, Barnes Arico coached her 300th game as St. John's head coach, marking the milestone with a victory over USF. She is 267-204 (.567) overall as a head coach.

Scouting The Field
• With a bye to the Quarterfinals, St. John's will face the winner of No. 7 Louisville and No. 10 Villanova. St. John's went 2-0 against these opponents during the 2011-12 regular season.

LOUISVILLE: Ranked No. 20/17 in the national polls, the Cardinals were the first of five ranked teams the Red Storm defeated during the regular season. St. John's upset then-No. 14/12 Louisville, 72-64 at Carnesecca Arena on Jan. 8.
• In the last five games, the Cardinals went 4-1 including an overtime win at Pittsburgh, 71-66 on Feb. 14. The Cardinals defeated DePaul and Seton Hall in the final two games of the season, but lost to Notre Dame, 68-52 (Feb. 20) at the KFC Yum! Center.
• Shoni Schimmel leads Louisville in scoring with 14.0 ppg. She is helped by Becky Burke who averages 11.8 ppg. In league play, Schimmel averaged 14.1 ppg.

VILLANOVA: Villanova was St. John's most-recently played of the three in the bracket. The Red Storm defeated the Wildcats, 69-49 on Senior Day at Carnesecca Arena (Feb. 25). The Wildcats finished the season 1-4 after winning 10 of its first 12 games.
• Villanova capped the regular season with a 68-60 victory over Syracuse at home (Feb. 27). Junior Laura Sweeney leads the Wildcats in scoring with 14.8 ppg.

We're Going Streaking!
• St. John's has been streaking through the final third of the regular season, winning 14 of its last 16 games and guaranteed a bye to the BIG EAST Quarterfinals with the Feb. 21, 63-54 win over West Virginia. St. John's has won eight-straight BIG EAST contests since Jan. 28.
• Senior Da'Shena Stevens leads St. John's in scoring during the eight-game run, averaging 15.4 points per game. She is shooting 50.6 percent from the field. She also leads STJ on the glass, with an average of 6.6 boards per game. Nadirah McKenith is second in scoring with 13.6 ppg, adding 6.2 rpg and 6.0 apg.
Shenneika Smithaverages 13.2 ppg.

Postgame Notes: Georgetown
STJ 54, Gtown 45
• St. John's put the final W on the schedule for the 2011-12 regular season as the Red Storm upset the fifth ranked team this season, third on the road over then-No. 12/13 Georgetown. STJ came back from a 27-25 halftime deficit for the win and held the Hoyas to just 6-for-36 from the floor in the second half.
• Three players scored 12 points in the victory, which came down to the final two minutes of play at the McDonough Arena. Sophomore Briana Brown shined in the second period, netting a career-best 12 points on 3-for-8 shooting and 5-of-6 from the foul line. Brown was aided by senior Da'Shena Stevens and junior Shenneika Smith who also had 12 points.
• Rookie Amber Thompsonhelped St. John's outrebound Georgetown 44-31 as she had a game-high 15 rebounds, 10 defensive against the Hoyas.

Lucky 13
• After Monday's 54-45 victory over Georgetown, St. John's finished with a 13-3 BIG EAST record. The 13 league wins marked yet another new record for 10th-year head coach Kim Barnes Aricoand the St. John's women's basketball program.

• St. John's has been streaking as of late, winning 10 of its last 11 games and 14 of its last 16. The Red Storm's only losses were to Marquette (Jan. 15) and to then-No. 2 Notre Dame (Jan. 28). In the run, the Red Storm has defeated four different ranked opponents, including two wins over Rutgers.
• The Red Storm has four players averaging double figures, led by Shenneika Smith with 12.6 ppg. Smith is aided Nadirah McKenith with 12.0 ppg, Eugeneia McPherson with 12.0 ppg and Da'Shena Stevens with 11.3 ppg. Smith has scored in double figures in the past 18-straight games.
• Stevens has found her grove and has hit the double figure mark in the past 10 contests, including the game-high at UConn and a season-high 21 vs. Villanova (Feb. 25).




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