Just the Facts, Ma’am: Aliyyah Handford notched a double-double with a game-high 26 points and 11 rebounds, as St. John’s bounced back to beat Providence 70-49. Danaejah Grant added 18 points off the bench, while Amber Thompson added 10 points and 13 rebounds. Alison Lewis led Providence with 11 points.
For friendly rolls, unfriendly rolls, royalty, shooting contests, overpriced sodas, a difference in pace, relief, and Aliyyah Handford being awesome, join your intrepid and displaced blogger after the jump.
So, on top of everything else that could possibly go wrong after that benighted Creighton game, my beloved Jocelyn got tinfoil stuck in her power jack, and now she won’t charge. (Jocelyn is my much abused but loved nevertheless HP laptop.) So I have to borrow my husband’s laptop for Game Notes of Doom. Just the cherry on top.
We’re playing Providence today, and I hope they’re inspired to do better than they did on Friday.
Most of our post depth is still out of uniform. Sandra Udobi and Selina Archer are in sweats, while Kyra Dunn is in street clothes. She looks really nice today. Still not sure I agree with her shoe selections, but today that’s a minor quibble instead of a general questioning of sanity.
There are free hats today so we no longer have to fight about who gets to wear the St. John’s hat! Suspect there will be plenty of hats to go around. The hat does not fit well on top of another hat.
Overdramatic anthem but that’s the way they like ’em at St. John’s.
Aliyah Miller, don’t hate because Aliyyah Handford is a better A*liy*ah than you are. No reason to hit her in the face.
It’s 37-23 St John’s at halftime. Aliyyah Handford is best A*liy*ah, with 17 points. Danaejah Grant did not take kindly to her benching, and she has 12, all pretty much rapid-fire. We keep throwing the ball to Providence, which is a bit annoying
I think Kia Wright might be a couple of rows down from me, but I’m not sure, and she’s shown no signs of recognition, so it might just be someone who looks like her around the eyes Then again, they’re doing that St. John’s HOF thing with her, so might be her, though she probably wouldn’t be wearing denim if that were the case. And it was Kia! Hi, Kia! (Now I definitely have to check out an Adelphi game.)
Kym Hampton was also at the game, but in the capacity of A’riel’s mom, not in the capacity of an employee of the New York Liberty. Still, maybe she was able to recommend Amber Thompson as a third-round draft pick. Hope springs eternal, what can I say?
That was satisfying, and exactly what we needed. Everyone played, everyone did something good. That clears the palate after that debacle on Friday.
Providence seems to have a curious taste for long, lanky forwards and stocky guards. It’s an unusual mix.
Miranda Simpson played the passing lanes like a corner, picking off lazy passes, and there were a lot of bad passes for her to pick off. Brianna Frias intrigued me, making defensive plays with her height on the inside. Aliyah Miller brought some physicality, occasionally too much. She had a strong stretch in the late first half where she looked like an A*liy*ah, but that was her best stretch. Alison Lewis was quietly efficient, never really noticeable, and occasionally mistaken for Simpson (very similar hairstyles), but she found the points for Providence. Looking at the minute counts and guessing the usage, I wonder if she’s usually a starter.
Allegra Botteghi has a stocky build, and may need to hit the weight room to get into condition with it. She seemed a little tentative, though she got her feet under her a little more in the second half. Chanise Baldwin positioned herself well on the glass, boxing out Amber Thompson pretty well (some days you can’t stop Amber on the boards, you can only contain her, and Baldwin contained her at times). Karin Robinson drove the lane without fear. Her shot selection left something to be desired, but I admire her nerve. Alexis Harris barely played- I recall an impression of height and shot-missing, but there was a lot of that from the Providence forwards in general, so that might not have been her I got the impression from. Evi Iiskola had a nice defensive play in the first half, but that’s about all I remember from her.
Providence is not a good team. Not yet. But I love the defensive instincts on Simpson, and she’s only a sophomore. I also really like the potential for Frias, and she’s only a freshman. That’s one of the things I love about the Big East this year- there’s room for teams to grow and stretch, and I’ve seen a lot of great, great freshmen making plays.
Kimberly Spruill got to play, yay! You should have heard the roar when our walk-on came into the game, and the “awwwwww” when she missed a three-point shot. Everyone wanted her to hit it except for the people who were rooting for the Friars. Imani Littleton made some good plays in the paint, hitting a couple of baskets and crashing the boards, and I like that Amber Thompson appears to have taken her under her wing That’s a good person to learn post play from. And like a true Johnnie post, she can’t hit a free throw to save her life. Tamesha Alexander came in to give Aaliyah Lewis a break before the Great Bench Emptying Of The Blowout, and was unremarkable. The offense slowed down somewhat when she was in, but the offense tended to get bogged down anyway, so that doesn’t really prove anything. Tonoia Wade was off her timing for most of the game- good hustle, but at the wrong moment.
Danaejah Grant did not start the game, presumably because she was awful last game and gave the coach attitude after being awful. She seemed inspired, or just angry. Whatever works to get points out of her. After we let Providence get back in it, at 22-17, she pretty much said, “aw hell naw to this” and started bombing threes, putting up 10 of our 12 points in one stretch. Her hands were active on defense, which is a blessed change- defense is usually her Achilles heel. She brought the distance shot and even some of her rebounding. Crystal Simmons got the start, and I’d still like to see her be a little less tentative on offense. She moves very stiffly, and that’s a shame. She’ll be a great player if she stops being terrified of the prospect. Jade Walker was her usual up and down self- hit some beautiful shots, committed some dumb fouls (though the call that took her out of the game was a bad, bad call), and alternated between being immensely frustrating and wonderful. Amber Thompson looked to have recovered some of her swagger, pulling down boards and blocking with authority- she had a great one in the second half that she snatched up and recovered (of course, we then turned it over, because that’s how we roll). Aaliyah Lewis found her teammates on the break and looked good- her shooting is still a little off, but that’s not necessarily what we need her for. She’s also become my mom’s favorite player (yes, the Queen Mother has been taking in games, it’s quite refreshing)- she loves her speed and ferocity. Aliyyah Handford found her mojo again, and Aliyyah Handford with mojo is a beautiful thing to see. What intrigues me is that she’s getting a lot of her points off jumpers- not that she’s not riving and getting ponts in the paint, but she’s getting a lot of midrange points, and I love that she’s developing her midrange game.
Officials mostly let a lot of stuff go, which is all right, but Tiara Cruse seemed addicted to calling travels in the first. In the second half, calls tightened up on both ends, but there were far fewer procedural calls. The fifth foul on Jade Walker was a bad call- you’re going to call a player for a foul for receiving an elbow to the throat, and not penalize the player who owns the elbow? There were a few ‘bows thrown by Providence. Aliyyah was not amused after getting up holding her throat.
I don’t follow men’s basketball very closely, and I don’t get particularly emotional about it, but I love that D’Angelo Harrison has been showing up and getting involved at women’s games. There was a moment where the camera was on him and he ducked and tried to roll under the bleacher to hide.
Shoutout to DESPN, hitting three out of the four shots in the shootout and getting love from the students (and D’Angelo). He pretty much em>is the student section most games, and he’s awesome.
It’s off to the Midwest now, and visiting DePaul isn’t going to be easy. And after that Creighton game, taking Marquette for granted at Milwaukee would be a bad idea too.