I can say one thing about the St. John’s Women's Basketball team for this season, this is a new team who knows how to work together.
During preseason media days, head coach Joe Tartamella said, “ it also feels more normal, as normal as it has been since 2019. It's more normal from the [COVID-19] standpoint and from the standpoint of our roster.”
A key component that will make this team stand out this year is the veteran status of most of the players. There are only 3 girls on the team who are not seniors, 5th, or 6th-year students. Key players such as 6th-year Ole Miss transfer Mimi Reid and returning players Kadajah Bailey, Rayven Peeples and Unique Drake will bring the team together.
Within the first quarter of the game, the women were up 19 to 2. That is one of the most impressive runs I have ever seen with the women's team. They all were working as if they were one person maneuvering the ball to the basket and blocking shots quite easily. There was no crazy yelling at each other on what to do next, only hand movements to signal to one another what would come next.
Kadaja Bailey looks like a whole new player just from this one game. She seemed calm and confident with every shot she made. For the 8th time in her career at St. John’s, she logged over 20 points in a game with her final total of points coming out to 23. Bailey seemed much more confident on the floor than I had ever seen her before. This being her last season and her taking a huge leadership role may have just given her the perfect push to be one of the top players this season.
By half the score was 39-13 for the Johnnies. Having this kind of lead means nothing to coach Tartamella. Keeping up the same energy for the next half is key to not losing any momentum for the other team to slip in and take the lead.
Throughout the second half of the game, the grove the women had gotten into during the first half only got better. Unique Drake was making some amazing shots with a total of 15 points for the game. The cohesiveness between each other made the lead grow to a new level. Going into the 4th quarter, the score was 55-24.
The dynamic between the returning players and the new ones, it seemed like they had all been playing together for years. You would never imagine that over half the team was brand new to the program. Graduate student, Jillian Archer came out with an impressive 9 rebounds. Archer brought energy to the floor that electrified everyone to the same level.
The end score was 78-39 against Monmouth. This win for the Johnnies will make a huge difference in where this season will go for them. Having the momentum to push harder than before will take this team from the middle of the pack up to the top. After this game, Tartamella will expect them to keep up this same mentality for the entire season.
The next St. John's women's game will be against St. Francis Brooklyn on November 11 at Carnesseca Arena.