No. 4 UConn 74, No. 13 St. John’s 43
Kim Barnes Arico wasn’t ready to reflect yet on the tremendous
Big East season that St. John’s had.
It’s tough to blame the veteran coach as her 13th-ranked Red
Storm had just been routed 74-43 by No. 4 Connecticut in the
conference semifinals Monday night.
”It’s so hard to end on a note like this,” she said. ”I want
to appreciate what the kids have been able to do all season. I
think I tried to talk to them in the hallway. I know tonight is
frustrating because they felt a little embarassed. We played so
well leading up to this. I’ll need a few days.”
Despite the loss, it was a breakthrough season for the Red
Storm. They won 14 of their previous 16 games under the Big East
coach of the year and have a shot to get the highest seed in school
history when the NCAA tournament bracket comes out next Monday
”Tomorrow’s a new day and what they’ve been able to accomplish
this year has been incredible,” Barnes Arico said. ”To beat UConn
at UConn and break that streak. They wanted to play us more than
anyone. It was a tough game for us. The year has been tremendous
and we’ve accomplished things we’ve never been able to accomplish
before. I wish we could erase tonight.”
Stefanie Dolson scored 23 points and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis
added 22 for the Huskies. The win was the 799th of Geno Auriemma’s
Hall of Fame career.
The Huskies will play No. 3 Notre Dame in the championship game
Tuesday night. The Irish routed West Virginia 73-45 in the first
”It’s been a while since we’ve had an opportunity to be the
team that we think we are,” Auriemma said. ”We’ll know more after
tomorrow night. We’re playing one of the top two teams in the
country tomorrow night. I think the challenge ahead of us is much
greater than last night or tonight.”
The teams have met five times in the title game and UConn has
come out on top each time.
UConn is one victory away from continuing its 18-year run of
winning either the Big East regular season or tournament title. The
last time the Huskies were a three seed in 2005, they won the
To keep that streak alive, they will have to figure out a way to
beat the Irish, who have a rare three-game losing streak against
Notre Dame. The Irish beat them in the national semifinals last
season before sweeping them this year en route to their first
outright Big East title.
”The best team in our league is Notre Dame. They’ve proven it
since Day 1,” Auriemma said. ”We’re the next best team in the
league. We’re the two teams that shold be playing in the
championship game tommorrow.”
Connecticut (28-4) gained a measure of revenge on the Red Storm
(22-9) on Monday night. St. John’s ended UConn’s 99-game home
winning streak when the two teams played on Feb. 18. The Huskies
then lost a second straight home game, falling to Notre Dame last
Monday night ending a 19-year run of not losing consecutive home
games. UConn also was at a loss that game as far as what went
”I think we’ve just come out with the right mindset and
executed on offense and played great defense,” Dolson said.
”We’ve come out with the mindset of being aggressive, confident
with ourselves and our shots and we’ve done a great job with it and
hopefully we’ll keep it up.”
UConn jumped all over St. John’s, scoring the game’s first seven
points. The Red Storm got within 13-8, but then the Huskies quickly
erased any hopes of a second victory in Connecticut for St. John’s
by outscoring them 23-6 over the next 10 minutes. Dolson and Bria
Hartley combined for 13 points during the burst.
The Huskies led 38-18 at the half and Dolson extended the
advantage to 24, scoring the first six points of the second half.
She only had six points in the earlier meeting between the
”I came out with the right mindset tonight,” Dolson said. ”I
give credit to my teammates who were able to pass me the ball today
After Dolson’s two free throws made it 42-18 and St. John’s
couldn’t get any closer the rest of the way.
Nadirah McKenith scored 10 points to lead St. John’s, which shot
just 30 percent from the field.
The Red Storm finished second in the conference and that forced
the Huskies to wear their road blue uniforms in Hartford for the
first time since 2005 when they were also a three seed in the Big
East tournament. Still the XL Center had a home feel for UConn,
which dressed in its normal locker room and had most of the crowd
of 8,731 cheering on every one of their baskets.