No. 5 Seed St. John's Set For BIG EAST Championship Second Round On Saturday

Nadirah McKenith.

March 8, 2013

No. 5 Seed --/rv St. John's (17-11, 11-5 BIG EAST) vs. No. 12 Seton Hall/No. 13 Cincinnati
BIG EAST Championships Second Round
Saturday, March 9 at Noon
XL Center (16,294) | Hartford, Conn.

SportsNet New York/BIG EAST TV
PXP: Bob Picozzi | Analyst: Brooke Weisbrod | Sideline/Host: Allison Williams
Watch LIVE (Link updated on Saturday) 

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QUEENS, N.Y. - St. John's received the No. 5 seed in the 2013 BIG EAST Championship, presented by American Eagle Outfitters, as announced by conference officials on Monday night.

BIG EAST Championship Notes
• As the No. 5 seed, St. John's has a bye in the first round of the tournament and will await its second round opponent after Friday's games. The Red Storm will play the winner of the 12/13 matchup between Seton Hall and Cincinnati. The Pirates and Bearcats play at 4 p.m. on March 8.
• The Red Storm will play its first game in the tournament on Saturday, March 9 at noon. The game will be aired on BIG EAST TV's regional affiliate, SportsNet New York. It will also be simulcast on Bob Picozzi will call the action with Brooke Weisbrod and sideline host Allison Williams. BIG EAST Tournament fans can also follow all the action via the BIG EAST Twitter: @BIGEASTWBB #BEWBB13.
• 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 in Hartford, Conn., Friday, March 8 through Tuesday, March 12.
• The Red Storm earned the No. 5 seed by defeating DePaul, 67-54, on Monday night at Carnesecca Arena in the final regular season-game. Going into Monday night's game, St. John's could have either been the No. 4, 5 or 6 seed depending on the outcome of its own game and the result of the Louisville-Syracuse match up at 8 p.m. Syracuse defeated Louisville, 67-58, earning the No. 3 seed in the tournament and creating a tie with Louisville and St. John's at 11-5 in league play. The Cardinals earned the tie-breaker over the Red Storm with its Jan. 27, 57-54, victory over St. John's at the KFC Yum! Center.
• Should St. John's win its Second Round game, the Red Storm will play No. 5 seed Louisville in the Quarterfinals on Sunday, March 10 at noon. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.
• St. John's is 2-2 against teams in its bracket. The Red Storm defeated Cincinnati, 75-46 on Feb. 17 at Carnesecca Arena. St. John's split its home-and-home series with Seton Hall, defeating the Pirates, 72-46 on Jan. 12 at Madison Square Garden, but lost 51-60 on March 2 in South Orange, N.J. The Red Storm lost in January to the Cardinals, 54-57 (Jan. 27).

Smith, McKenith Earn All-BIG EAST First Team honors; Handford Unanimous BIG EAST All-Freshman Selection
• On Thursday, St. John's had three student-athletes honored by the BIG EAST coaches for their accomplishments all season. Senior guards Shenneika Smith and Nadirah McKenith were voted to the 2013 BIG EAST first team; while rookie guard Aliyyah Handford was unanimously selected to the BIG EAST all-freshman team.
• It was Smith's second-straight time on the first team.
• St. John's was only one of three teams to have multiple honorees on the first team.
• Handford, a three-time BIG EAST Freshman of the Week, is one of four unanimous selections to the all-freshman team. She is St. John's second unanimous honoree in four years, Smith was also a unanimous vote.

Senior Send Off
• On Monday, March 4, St. John's honored the accomplishments of the Senior Class of 2013: Nadirah McKenith, Shenneika Smith, Mary Nwachukwu and managers Jonathan Ochoa, Alfred Lamour and Chinyere Ekwelum.
• Coming in, the recruiting class was ranked No. 10 in the nation by ESPN and No. 1 in the BIG EAST, St. John's highest-ever recruiting class.
• Since stepping foot on the court at Carnesecca Arena, the class has brought St. John's into the national spotlight with three-straight NCAA Tournaments, its first-ever Sweet 16 in 2012 and the highest rankings in the top 25 polls.
• The senior class helped St. John's break the record in wins (25) in as rookies in 2010, then break the record for BIG EAST wins in 2012 (13). As juniors, they conjured up national headlines as the team defeated UConn at Gampel, putting an end to the Huskies' 99-game home-winnings streak.
• Outside of BIG EAST play, the seniors have traveled to California, twice, Oklahoma, Florida, Arkansas, Kansas and the Bahamas.

Red Storm Season Quick hits
• St. John's finished the regular season 8-2 in its last 10 games, with one of the losses a close one to No. 3 Connecticut, 65-71.
• Since Feb. 2, the Red Storm has risen in NCAA RPI ratings from the 60's to as high as 30 and is currently 38.
• St. John's finished the regular season playing three games in five days; two within 48 hours as the Red Storm played at 9 p.m. on Saturday at Seton Hall.
• Monday will be the third game for St. John's in five days; the second within 48 hours.
• Before the March 2, 60-51, loss at Seton Hall, St. John's was riding a season-high six-game winning streak going into Saturday's game at Seton Hall. On Wednesday, the Red Storm defeated Villanova in a gritty, 52-49, road victory, where St. John's came back from a four-point deficit and won the game on free throws. On Monday, St. John's rebounded from Saturday's mis step and defeated DePaul handily, 67-54. Sophomore Amber Thompson had her third double-double of the season with a career-high 20 points and tied a career-effort with 16 rebounds. Senior Shenneika Smith had 24 points. St. John's had 19 assists on a season-best 29 field goals.
• The win over DePaul was the second for St. John's over a team in the RPI top 25. DePaul was rated No. 23 in the NCAA RPI rankings on Monday. St. John's also defeated Villanova on Feb. 27 on the road. At the time, the Wildcats boasted an RPI of 22.
• Since defeating Marquette on the road (Feb. 20, 67-61), the first time in program-history, St. John's began receiving votes in the USA Today/Coaches Poll. As of the March 5 Poll, St. John's is receiving three votes.

STJ's BIG EAST Championship Resume
• St. John's is 20-25 overall in the BIG EAST Championships and has appeared in the Quarterfinals 20 times, the Semifinals six 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 received a No. 2 seed in the BIG EAST Championships and a double-bye to the Quarterfinals. In the Quarterfinals, then-No. 13/21 St. John's defeated then-No. 20/17 Louisville, 68-61 in the Red Storm's first overtime contest of the season. The win marked St. John's sixth-ever appearance in the tournament Semifinals, first since 1988. The seven-point victory extended St. John's winning streak to nine games. Shenneika Smith, scored a season and game-high 24 points in the win.
• In the Semifinals, St. John's lost to eventual-Tournament Champion Connecticut, 74-43. The Huskies avenged their earlier loss to St. John's, 57-56 (Feb. 18) in Storrs, Conn. Nadirah McKenith led the way for the Red Storm with 15 points.
• Smith was named to the BIG EAST All-Tournament team for her 14.4 ppg effort during the two-game span. It was St. John's first All-Tournament member since 1988.
• Four members of the St. John's women's basketball team were recognized by the BIG EAST Conference in 2012. Smith was named to the All-BIG EAST first team, while then-senior Da'Shena Stevens and McKenith were voted to the second team. Forward Amber Thompson was selected to the All-Freshman Squad.
• Stevens was also named the 2012 American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year and was the recipient of the BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award. Stevens was the first St. John's student-athlete to receive either award.
• Head coach Kim Barnes Aricoand her staff was also named the 2012 BIG EAST Coach of the Year. It was the second time Barnes Arico received the prestigious honor.

Scouting The Tournament Field
• With a bye to the tournament's second round, St. John's will wait to see its opponent. The Red Storm will face the winner of the 12/13 match up on Friday between Seton Hall and Cincinnati. Should St. John's advance, the Red Storm will face No. 4 seed Louisville in the Quarterfinals.

SETON HALL: With the No. 12 seed, Seton Hall finished 5-11 in the conference and 12-17 overall. Seton Hall is St. John's most-played opponent and this year, the team's split their home-and-home series. St. John's won the first meeting between the two teams, 72-46 on Jan. 12 at Madison Square Garden. Keylantra Langley had a career-high 16 points against the Pirates. Smith had 18. In the second meeting in South Orange, N.J., Seton Hall won, 60-51. St. John's shot just 32.7 percent. Rookie Aliyyah Handford led the scoring effort with a career-best 17 points.
• The Pirates are led by senior guard Brittany Morris who averages 14.8 ppg in league action and 13.6 ppg overall. Morris is helped by redshirt sophomore Ka-Deidre Simmons who averages 12.4 ppg in BIG EAST action and 11.4 ppg overall.
• The Pirates were picked to finish tied for 13th in the 2012-13 preseason Coaches Poll.

CINCINNATI: The Bearcats are the No. 13 seed in the tournament at 4-12 in the BIG EAST. Since the Bearcats and Red Storm met on Feb. 17 at Carnesecca Arena, Cincinnati has won three of its last four games. St. John's had defeated Cincinnati, 75-46.
• Dayeesha Hollins leads the scoring effort for the Bearcats with 15.7 ppg. She shoots 77.2 percent from the free throw line. Hollins is the only player who averages double figures for the Bearcats. In conference play, Hollins has 17.7 ppg. When St. John's and Cincinnati last met, Hollins averaged 13.4 ppg. St. John's held Hollins to eight points.
Nadirah McKenith scored 20 points against the Bearcats. Aliyyah Handford added 14 points and Briana Brown11.

LOUSIVILLE: The No. 4 seed in the bracket, the Cardinals are ranked No. 13/15 in the top 25 polls and boast a 23-7 record overall. Louisville averages 72.1 points per game with a 16.5 margin of victory. Louisville has three players who average double figures led by Shoni Schimmel with 13.7 ppg. She is aided by Sara Hammond with 10.3 ppg and Antonita Slaughter with 10.2 ppg.
• St. John's lost the regular season meeting at the KFC Yum! Center on Jan. 27 by just three points, 57-54. Three Red Storm players reached double figures, led by Shenneika Smith's 23 points. Rookie guard Aliyyah Handford had 16 and senior Nadirah McKenith had 11.
• With 3:05 left, the game was tied at 52-52. The 11th tie of the contest.




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