St. John’s shocks the Huskies, halts UConn’s 99-game home winning streak
Unranked St. John’s (18-8, 10-3) stunned No. 2 Connecticut (24-3, 11-2) Saturday night beating the Huskies 57-56 after Shenneika SmithÂ drained a three-pointer with just eight seconds left in the game.
“I thought it was a great basketball game, especially for us, tonight and I thought our kids really stepped up to the challenge,” said St. John’s head coach Kim Barnes Arico. “They showed what we are capable of doing and what kind of team we are heading down the stretch of the season.â€
The win halted UConn’s 99-game home winning streaking, denying them the chance to reach the century mark. UConn coach Geno Auriemma praised St. Johnâ€™s offense and discipline.
â€œI think they played great,â€ he said. â€œThey had their game plan and they stuck to it.Â We didnâ€™t get enough shots at the basket.Â They had 14 more shots than we did.Â I donâ€™t know that youâ€™re going to win a lot of games when you let a team get that many more shots.Â Every time they needed to make a shot it seemed like they made it.â€
Smith finished with 11 points and six rebounds. Teammates Da’Shena Stevens and Nadirah McKenith had 15 points each. Stevens pulled down eight rebounds while McKenith grabbed seven.
For UConn, Kiah Stokes had 11 points and six rebounds. Bria Hartley was the only other Husky in double figures with 10 points plus six rebounds.
Senior guard Tiffany Hayes indicated that St. Johnâ€™s interrupted UConnâ€™s offensive flow but also put the blame on UConn for not making shots.
â€œIt was us, we couldnâ€™t get in to any type of rhythm,â€ she said. â€œSome of the time we couldnâ€™t finish, and we just couldnâ€™t knock down shots.Â Sometimes they made us rush a little bit.Â Other than that I just think it was us.Â We couldnâ€™t get stuff done.â€
Sophomore Center Stefanie Dolson
â€œItâ€™s extremely frustrating to lose like this at this point in the season.Â We didnâ€™t play like our usual selves.Â We came out and it was like we didnâ€™t even care.Â St. Johnâ€™s punched us and we backed down.Â When youâ€™re playing a team like St. Johnâ€™s, the little things matter and we didnâ€™t do them.â€
Kim Barnes Arico on Shennika Smithâ€™s last shot
â€œShe was gutsy. She wanted it too. She wanted me to call that play and I said to my staff at the time, â€˜Should we go for the tie here or should we go for the win,â€™ and we said, â€˜Why not go for the win?â€™ We had Daâ€™Shena (Stevens) on open up, so if we didnâ€™t Shennika we were going to go inside to Daâ€™Shena. She wanted it. She had a tremendous year and I donâ€™t think people really recognize it because she does it a lot for us on the defensive end. Tonight she [Shennika] wanted the ball at the end of the game. She asked for the ball and made the big. What you said about our team that we have different kids on different nights or even different positions that can really step up. I mean, Nadirah (McKenith) made the play at half and Daâ€™Shena made plays all through the game. She [Shennika] asked for it and she made the play and Iâ€™m really happy for her. â€œ
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS 1 2 - Tot St. John's.............. 12 8 - 20 UConn................... 4 4 - 8 POINTS IN PAINT 1 2 - Tot St. John's.............. 22 10 - 32 UConn................... 16 12 - 28 2ND CHANCE POINTS 1 2 - Tot St. John's.............. 12 4 - 16 UConn................... 4 6 - 10 FAST BREAK POINTS 1 2 - Tot St. John's.............. 2 4 - 6 UConn................... 4 2 - 6 BENCH POINTS 1 2 - Tot St. John's.............. 2 2 - 4 UConn................... 18 5 - 23 SCORE TIED BY 1 2 - Tot St. John's.............. 3 2 - 5 UConn................... 0 1 - 1 LEAD GAINED BY 1 2 - Tot St. John's.............. 3 6 - 9 UConn................... 2 6 - 8