Feb. 12, 2013
QUEENS, N.Y. -
St. John's (11-10, 5-4 BIG EAST) escapes the cold and snow left by Winter Storm Nemo and makes its way down to sunny south Florida for a mid-week game the USF Bulls' home court, the Sun Dome on Wednesday, Feb. 13.
Tip off between the Red Storm and Bulls is scheduled for 4 p.m. and will air live on CBS Sports Network with James Bates on play-by-play and the familiar face of Julianne Viani as the analyst.
Wednesday's Tip Off Quick Hits
Wednesday's contest was originally scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m., but was postponed due to the effects of Winter Storm Nemo and the travel arrangements of the USF Bulls.
The game is also USF's Play4Kay game, to benefit Breast Cancer research and awareness. The Red Storm staff will be wearing pink, while the players will wearing pink sneakers and game accessories.
Wednesday is the eighth meeting between the Red Storm and Bulls in a newer series that dates back to just 2005. St. John's has won the last three-consecutive meetings between the two opponents, including last year's 67-57 victory in front of a record crowd at Carnesecca Arena for Field Trip Day (Feb. 8, 2012).
The Bulls (16-6, 5-4 BIG EAST) come into Wednesday's game boasting a two-game win streak. St. John's is looking to get its second-straight win after an overtime thriller against Georgetown, 76-72, on Saturday. Four players scored in double-figures for STJ, led by senior guard Shenneika Smith with a season-best 26 points. For her efforts, Smith was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for the fourth time this season.
Saturday's game was the fourth time this season STJ has had four players reach double-digits. Senior guard Nadirah McKenith had a near triple-double with an impressive stat line that included 16 points, 12 assists, eight rebounds, four steals and two blocks.
According to the NCAA statistical data released on Monday, Feb. 11, McKenith's 553 career assists rank seventh overall in all of active Division I players. In conference play, McKenith is the assist leader with 7.0 per game.
So far in conference play, St. John's leads the BIG EAST in defending against the 3, with teams averaging just 26.8 against them.
As of Monday's RPI data, St. John's has a strength of schedule of No. 4 overall, fifth for its non-conference schedule. The BIG EAST Conference as a group has an RPI of three.
Saturday's win against Georgetown was St. John's best in terms of RPI. As of Monday's data, the Hoyas' are ranked No. 38 on the NCAA's RPI chart.
USF's RPI is 68.
In the last three games, four STJ players average double-figure scoring, led by Smith who averages 23.5 ppg during the span. Junior guard Briana Brown in second with 15.7 ppg; McKenith is third with 13.7 pgp and rookie guard Aliyyah Handford is fourth with 12.7 ppg. Sophomore Amber Thompson leads the team in rebounding wiht 7.7 per game. McKenith is close behind with 6.7 and Handford with 6.0.
McKenith's 12 assists vs. Georgetown (Feb. 9) were a season-high. She averages 7.0 assists per game over the last three games.
Scouting The Bulls
USF (16-6, 5-4 BIG EAST) started BIG EAST play with an overtime loss to Notre Dame at the Sun Dome, 75-71. Since then, the Bulls have lost at DePaul, at Villanova and at home against Louisville. USF started the 2012-13 season on an eight-game win streak.
Overall, the Bulls have defended the Sun Dome well, with just one non-conference loss, to Nebraska, 62-52, on Dec. 16.
The Bulls have outscored opponents by 14.3 points per game; however, in BIG EAST play it is just a 9.4 ppg margin.
USF is coming off a 82-54 victory at Providence (Feb. 10); where the Bulls scored 54 points after halftime. Junior Inga Orekhova had 21 points in the win, while rookie Alisia Jenkins posted another double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. USF shot 61 percent in the second half and finished with 40 points scored in the paint.
Senior Andrea Smith leads the Bulls and is third in the conference in scoring with 17.4 points per game. Her sister Andrell is second with 15.4 ppg. In BIG EAST play, Andrea Smith averages 18.7 ppg.
In BIG EAST play, Jenkins leads USF on the glass with 10.1 per game.
USF's offensive output ranks 23rd in the NCAA, as the Bulls average 72.8 ppg.
Red Storm vs. Bulls - The Series
St. John's and USF have a short series history dating back just seven years to 2006, when the Bulls joined the BIG EAST from Conference USA. St. John's holds a 5-2 advantage over USF, including a 57-55 victory at Madison Square Garden in 2010.
STJ won the first meeting between the two squads, 78-71 on Feb. 5, 2006 at Carnesecca Arena. Until 2011, the teams alternated wins, varying on who was at home. However, on Feb. 16, 2011, the Red Storm broke the stalemate, earning its first road victory against the Bulls, 80-60.
In 2009 & 2010, the meetings were closely matched as St. John's won by two, 57-55 in 2010 (Jan. 23) and USF won in overtime on Jan. 10, 2009 at the Sun Dome.
USF is 0-4 against St. John's in New York (0-3 in Carnesecca Arena), but in Tampa, St. John's has won only once, in 2011; 80-60 on Feb. 16.
Of the current Red Storm roster, Shenneika Smith has fared the best against the Bulls with an average of 15.0 points per game in three games played. Smith had 16 in last year's meeting at Carnesecca.
When Last They Met
The Red Storm and Hoyas last met on Feb. 8, 2012 for the Second Annual Field Trip Day at Carnesecca Arena. St. John's defeated USF, 67-57, in front of a record-breaking crowd of 5,018.
Three players scored in double figures, led by Da'Shena Stevens with 17 points. Shenneika Smith added 16 and shot 50 percent (7-for-14) from the field. Nadirah McKenith also shot 50 percent, scoring 12 points on 5-for-10 shooting, 1-for-1 from long range.
USF led 29-27 with 21 seconds left in the first period. Tesia Harris tied the game. The first half was defined by St. John's fouls and USF free throws as the Bulls connected on 13-of-18 from the free throw line.
In the second half, STJ pulled ahead quickly and led by as many as 20 with 5:22 left.
USF came back to make it an eight-point game with a minute to go. Briana Brown iced the game with two made free throws.
In the second half, STJ's foul count decreased and instead it was STJ who went 10-for-14 from the foul line.
STJ's defense held USF's leading scorer Inga Orekhova scoreless in the second period. She finished the game 2-for-9 and 4-for-5 from the foul line. She had no free throw attempts in the second half.
Last Time At The Sun Dome
The Red Storm and Bulls last met on Feb. 16, 2011 at the Sun Dome in Tampa.
St. John's had five players score in double figures to lead the team to an 80-60 victory over USF, its first road victory over the Bulls.
Shenneika Smith led the way with 18 points, while Eugeneia McPherson added 15, Da'Shena Stevens and Nadirah McKenith helped out with 13 and Coco Hart had 12.
For USF, Andrea Smith netted 27 points.
St. John's led by nine at halftime, 39-30.
USF scored the first two baskets of the half to cut the lead to five 393-34.
STJ used a 22-6 run to jump out to a 24-point lead, 69-45 over the Bulls.
The closest USF would get thereafter was 18 points.
The Red Storm shot 84.0 percent from the foul line, connecting on 21-of-25 free throws.
The STJ bench accounted for 24 points.
Coaching Match Up
Joe Tartamella is 11-10 (.524), 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.
Bulls' head coach Jose Fernandez is in his 13th year with the Bulls. He is 205-190 (.519) for his coaching career.
Wearing The Black Unis
St. John's will be donning its black uniforms on Wednesday for just the fourth time this season, second time on the road. STJ is 1-0 wearing blacks on the road. The Red Storm wore them for its first BIG EAST game of the season, at Rutgers, 48-44, on Jan. 6.
Overall, St. John's is 1-2 wearing the blacks.
On This Date In St. John's History
The last time St. John's played on Feb. 13 was during the 2010-11 season. The Red Storm earned an upset victory over then-No. 16/17 Georgetown in overtime, 75-71 in Carnesecca Arena.
The game was part of February Frenzy weekend.
Overall, St. John's is 8-7 when playing on Feb. 13.
Senior guard Shenneika Smith continues to lead St. John's in scoring and rebounding with 17.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Smith has been St. John's leading scorer in 13 games so far this season and has reached the 20-point plateau nine times, including Saturday's game vs. Georgetown (Feb. 9). She has also been the leading rebounder in 10 games. For her season-best 26-point performance that helped St. John's to an overtime win against Georgetown (Feb. 9), she was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll for the fourth time this season. The accolade was Smith's fifth weekly honor this season.
Senior guard Nadirah McKenith, who averages 12.8 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 set a new career-high against No. 3/2 Connecticut with 17 points on eight field goals. Handford earned BIG EAST Freshman of the Week honors for second time this season for her efforts. In BIG EAST action, Handford is second in scoring with 12.4 ppg.
Last Time Out: STJ 76, Georgetown 72 (Overtime)
Four St. John's players were in double figures led by senior Shenneika Smith's 26 points. She shot 11-of-24 from the field.
A 3-pointer by GU's Katie McCormick put the Hoyas ahead by two, 65-62, with 38 seconds left in regulation. Smith answered with a layup and the Red Storm defense picked up the pressure and held Georgetown to an off-balance shot attempt by senior Sugar Rodgers with one second left that missed.
The Red Storm posted season highs of 76 points and were 20-for-22 from the free throw line (.909).
It was the fifth time a St. John's-Georgetown game went into overtime. St. John's is 4-1 when playing the Hoyas in extra minutes.
Senior Nadirah McKenith had a near triple-double with 16 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds. It was her scond double-double of hte season.
Junior Briana Brown added 12 points, shooting 4-for-8 from the 3-point line.
In overtime, St. John's led by six, 75-69, with 2:10 on the clock. The Hoyas got close but McKenith helped hold St. John's ahead by making one of two free throws with 16 seconds left.
St. John's will host Cincinnati for the annual Play4Kay game on Sunday, Feb. 17. The Red Storm's contest against the Bearcats will be live on ESPN2 as part of their breast cancer awareness weekend.
The Red Storm and Bearcats will tip off at 5 p.m. (ET) with Bob Picozzi and Rebecca Lobo on the call.
St. John's will wear its pink uniforms and matching accessories.
There will be a pregame multi-sport clinic and other fundraising throughout the month to raise money for breast cancer awareness.