Taking a break from number crunching, Ray poses with the UConn dance team. They assured Ray his friendship with the St. John's coaches would not be in jeopardy. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)
New York City - In the feature game of the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden, UConn defeated St. John’s 70-54. The Huskies enjoyed a 38-31 advantage at the half. Though never really threatened the final twenty minutes, they were tested by a determined St. John’s team, just two days removed from a big win over Seton Hall. The possession numbers:
Possessions: St. John’s 66, UConn 65
Offensive efficiency: UConn 108, St. John’s 92
The Four Factors:
eFG%: UConn 49, St. John's 39
FT Rate: UConn 17, St. John's 13
OREB%: UConn 40, St. John's 35
TO Rate: St. John's 21, UConn 17
What UConn did well: Disrupt the St. John’s offense. The Huskies forced St. John’s into a 21% turnover rate. Of greater significance was the 18-11 scoring edge they were able to generate from those miscues. Those points off turnovers saw UConn lead 12-2 in the second half, when Geno Auriemma’s club sealed the verdict.
What St. John’s did well: Play hard for forty minutes. There isn’t a metric to fully measure this. It is something the coaches and each individual player must assess for themselves. Believe coach Joe Tartamella when he says his team put it all on the line. St. John’s also did a nice job defensively limiting Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis to 3-of-9 shooting (6 points).
The scoring leaders:
UConn: Morgan Tuck (23 points, 25 efficiency)
St. John's: Aliyyah Handford (20 points, 13 efficiency)
Very efficient: She logged just 19 minutes. Still, Kiah Stokes (who had fans with a sign supporting her efforts) had an efficiency of 14. Stokes scored two points while adding nine rebounds in her brief time on the floor. Her rebound total was second for the game only behind the performance turned in by Stewart.
Not much transition scoring. Fast break points were two apiece. UConn did make its mark in the lane. The Huskies owned a 38-26 edge in points in the paint.
Stewart is so good she’s virtually taken for granted. Tuck, a sophomore forward, turned in an admirable performance, with 23 points, six rebounds, and four assists. The negative was her four turnovers. Regardless, there was a lot to admire about her game.
UConn is now 12-1 , St. John’s falls to 12-2.