No. 18 St. John's tops Nova; most wins in 26 years

BY foxsports • February 27, 2010

Joy McCorvey has seen a remarkable turnaround at St. John's in her four years.

When she was a freshman, the Red Storm won just eight games. Now she's captaining the winningest St. John's team in the past 26 years. Da'Shena Stevens scored 22 points in a 69-42 win Saturday over Villanova, helping the Red Storm earn their 23rd win - the most victories since posting 24 in 1983-84.

``Definitely my freshman year was a little rough,'' said McCorvey, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds in her last home game. ``You keep believing in your coach and teammates. Now our senior year, what a great way to go out. It's definitely a complete turnaround.''

Shenneika Smith added 15 for the Red Storm (23-5, 11-4 Big East), who can clinch the No. 4 seed and a double bye in the Big East tournament with a victory Monday at Pittsburgh and a loss by Notre Dame to Connecticut.

``It would be great for us to finish fourth in our conference,'' St. John's coach Kim Barnes Arico said. ``It says something about the program. The kids have been talking about it, saying they have goals and want that double bye.''

The game was tied 9-9 nearly 6 minutes in before St. John's went on an 18-2 run. The Red Storm held the Wildcats to just one basket over a 9-minute span as the they took control.

Stevens and Smith each had six points during the spurt. Laura Sweeney's layup at the 11:17 mark was Villanova's only points during the drought.

Sarah Jones scored 13 points to lead Villanova (13-15, 2-13), which shot 26 percent from the field - going 7 for 25 from behind the 3-point arc.

``We have to live or die on that,'' Villanova coach Harry Perretta said. ``We can't take the ball by them on the dribble. The only option we have is to shoot the 3.''

McCorvey was honored along with teammate Kelly McManmon and injured senior Victoria Hodges before the game with flowers and a framed photo.

``They've each been unbelievable, putting our team goals above their individual goals,'' Barnes Arico said of the seniors. ``The greatest thing for me is that they will get an opportunity to go to the NCAA tournament.''

Leading by 40-26 in the second half, Stevens help put the game away. She scored the first seven points of a 16-0 run. The sophomore started the spurt scoring on a nifty move in the post. She then hit a jumper from the foul line and had a three-point play that made it 47-26.

Stevens made a layup later in the run off a no-look pass from Nadirah McKenith. McCorvey finished the burst with a reverse layup that made it 56-26 with 8:56 left and brought the crowd to its feet.

Shannon Elliott ended the 7-minute scoreless drought by hitting a 3-pointer. Elliott and Sweeney each finished with 10 points. Villanova's leading scorer Maria Getty was held without a point. Getty, who was averaging 11.9 points, was 0-for-8 from the field.

``We played against a very good team today,'' Perretta said. ``I told Kim before the game I need to see teams live, but they, Georgetown, West Virginia and Notre Dame are all really close. I couldn't tell you who would win a game between those four.''

St. John's recognized at halftime former player Ebony Dickinson, who died Sept. 29 after succumbing to breast cancer. Dickinson played for St. John's from 1997-99.