Women’s Big East Notebook
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Connecticut’s 99 Game Home Winning Streak Snapped
The second-ranked Connecticut Huskies lost to unranked St. John’s in Storrs, Conn., on Saturday marking the first time in 19 years (261 games) that Connecticut (25-3, 12-2 Big East) lost to an unranked opponent at home. With the win the Red Storm (19-8, 11-3 Big East) became just the fifth team to come out victorious in Storrs since 1993.
Connecticut set the women’s record for consecutive home wins at any level with a win over Dayton in November. All but two of the Huskies victories during the streak had been by double figures.
Its 99 consecutive wins trailed only the 129 straight victories by the Kentucky men’s team in 1954-’55. Stanford currently holds the longest active streak at 76 games, including a victory last season that halted the Huskies’ 90-game overall winning streak.
The last loss for Connecticut at home was March 6, 2007, in the Big East Championship game against Rutgers. The Huskies had won 173 straight games overall versus unranked foes.
Shenneika Smith hit a 3-pointer off a pass from Nadirah McKenith with eight seconds left to give the Red Storm the lead.
Connecticut’s Bria Hartley had a wide open look from the right corner with three seconds left, but the 3-point attempt fell short. Connecticut was anchored by Kaleena Mosqueeda-Lewis who finished with 12 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
The victory for St. John’s put them back into the top-25, checking in at No. 20/25 in the recent polls after winning 12 of their last 14 games.
Someone Will Win in Battle of the Futile
Pittsburgh hosts Seton Hall on Saturday in a battle of teams still looking for their first win in Big East play. Neither team has won a game in the calendar year, going a combined 0-26.
Pittsburgh (8-19, 0-14 Big East) and Seton Hall (7-21, 0-14 Big East) both average fewer than 50 points per game in conference play and lose by an average of 21 points a contest.
Seton Hall has the upper hand defensively as the Pirates have not allowed more than 74 points in a game in Big East play. The Panthers, on the other hand, lost to Notre Dame by 76 a month ago after allowing 120 points, the fourth-highest point total in Big East regular season history. The Fighting Irish’s margin of victory was two points shy of the Big East record.
The Panthers allow the most points per game in the conference, giving up almost 75 a game. Seton Hall scores the fewest points in the conference, scoring only 48 points per game. Something will have to give in this matchup. Pittsburgh has the luxury of playing at home, which is seemingly the only advantage as both teams rank near the bottom in each statistical category.
Often the difference in games against similar teams is the three-point line. Seton Hall makes almost five 3-pointers a game, nearly double the total Pittsburgh converts. One team is going to walk out of the Petersen Events Center with a victory. The other may not get another chance to win a game.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Monday Feb. 27, 8 p.m.
Connecticut (25-3, 12-2 Big East) at Notre Dame (26-2, 13-1 Big East)
The first time these two teams met it took overtime for the Fighting Irish to hold off the Huskies in South Bend. Notre Dame snapped Connecticut’s 57-game conference winning streak, dating back to a loss to Rutgers in 2008 in that game. If both teams avoid a letdown this weekend, Connecticut will need a win to claim a share of the Big East regular season championship.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Nadirah McKenith, Junior, Guard, St. John’s #5 (20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 6 assists, 4.5 steals)
Nadirah McKenith was not named a finalist for the national point guard of the year award earlier this week, but her performance last week would suggest otherwise. McKenith assisted on the game-winning 3-pointer in a win at Connecticut on Saturday. She matched a career-high 26 points in a victory against West Virginia Tuesday night. McKenith has never been named to an All-Big East team, but with a strong performance last week, she may not have to worry about another snub.