1:00 PM ET, December 18, 2010
NEW YORK -- With just over two minutes left in the game, St. John's coach Kim Barnes Arico turned to her bench looking to substitute for injured guard Shenneika Smith.There was nobody there.At least, nobody who could still play.Her roster ransacked by injuries and foul trouble, Barnes Arico had to go with four players the rest of the way Saturday. It hardly mattered in an 81-50 rout of Southern Mississippi."It was really unbelievable," the coach said afterward. "I've seen injury bugs hamper teams before, but nothing like this. It was just one after another."The Red Storm only had 10 players suit up Saturday, and one by one they went down.First, Da'Shena Stevens was lost to a concussion. Then, Centhya Hart went down with an ankle sprain. Sky Lindsay was the next to go out when her Achillies tendinitis flared up. Smith had been nursing several injuries and Nadirah McKenith fractured her thumb in practice this week.When reserve center Jennifer Blanding fouled out with five minutes left, Barnes Arico put McKenith back in. About a minute later, she aggravated the thumb injury, running off the court in pain. Smith re-entered the game and with 2:14 left and came up hobbling with a sprained ankle, leaving the Red Storm with four healthy players."I looked down the bench and everyone was icing," said St. John's guard Eugenia McPherson, who had a career-high 23 points to lead the Red Storm. "We didn't panic."It helped that the Red Storm had a 35-point lead. The remaining four players closed it out.Barnes Arico isn't sure who she'll have back for the championship game of the holiday tournament Sunday, when the Red Storm face UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos beat Fresno State 64-62 on Saturday."Can we cancel the game?" she said, laughing. "It will be interesting to see who's able to go. I don't think Da'Shena will be able to go. We're going to be down a few at least."After Sunday's contest, the Red Storm will have nine days to get healthy before heading to Maryland to play in the Terrapins' tournament.Stevens was set to become the 17th Red Storm player to reach 1,000 points. She needed seven coming into the game and had an early basket before getting hit with an elbow two minutes in.Rachel Vigers scored 19 points to lead Southern Miss (5-5). Jamierra Faulkner added 14.Smith's previous career high was 20 points against Seton Hall earlier this month. Lindsay and Amanda Burakoski had 10 points each for the Red Storm (10-1), who forced the Lady Eagles into 27 turnovers and converted them into 37 points.The Red Storm built a quick nine-point lead, converting turnovers into easy baskets. Hart had back-to-back layups that made it 18-9 with 12:37 left.Vigers scored the next seven points for the Lady Eagles, including a three-point play with 11:01 left that made it 18-16. But the Red Storm scored 17 of the next 18 points to take command, with McPherson starting the spurt and scoring seven during the run.St. John's pressure forced four straight turnovers by Southern Mississippi.Danielle Johnson finally ended the six-minute drought by banking in a floater in the lane that made it 35-19. The Red Storm weren't daunted, closing the half on a 15-3 run to take a 50-22 lead at the break. The Lady Eagles trailed by as many as 39 in the second half.If it wasn't for the injuries, it would have been just about perfect for St. John's."I hope their players are OK," Southern Mississippi coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. "I just told the coach before the game, let's not have any injuries. We've had three knee surgeries, an ankle surgery and a kid is having an open heart surgery."
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||20-67 (.299)||33-68 (.485)|
|3P Made-Attempted||3-18 (.167)||3-8 (.375)|
|FT Made-Attempted||7-13 (.538)||12-23 (.522)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||20 (0/0)||13 (0/0)|