In the Chartwells Holiday Classic, the St. John’s women found that out. They advanced past the semifinal opponent, Auburn, and were matched up against Indiana State for the championship.
The visitors from the Missouri Valley Conference showed confidence and talent. In a game with 13 ties, 11 lead changes and two overtimes, the visiting Sycamores of the Hoosier State prevailed.
The 73-67 setback did see Aliyyah Handford (27 points) and Danaejah Grant (18 points) earn all-tournament distinction. As a team, St. John’s did battle back from seven points down at halftime and a five-point deficit in the first overtime, a fine showing of resiliency.
The will to dig in and battle back could not offset the transgressions of missed free throws and turnovers. They ultimately proved to be St. John’s undoing.
St. John’s coach Joe Tartamella, naturally disappointed, chalked this up to a teaching moment. Something to learn from. Not dwell and commiserate, just learn, make corrections and move on. Indiana State gave St. John’s a style they will see in the Big East this year. In that regard, it was a teaching moment for the Red Storm. It also served an important reminder, nothing in the game is iron clad certain.
SMU coach Rhonda Rompola makes a point with an official:
The postgame line between Auburn and SMU. Auburn prevailed 56-43 for third place:
Indiana State coach Joey Wells is upbeat, as is his team:
The St. John's dance team entertains during a timeout:
St. John's coach Joe Tartamella and assistant Priscilla Edwards (left) focused on the action:
Danaejah Grant and Aliyyah Handford earned all-tournament honors for St. John's. On the far left is St. John's athletic director Chris Monasch, on the far right is Vice President for Athletics Kathleen Meehan:
The victorious Indiana State team: