for this game

Louisville 56, St. John's 91

Feb 10, 2010 - 9:53 PM By DOUG FEINBERG AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- St. John's coach Kim Barnes Arico wanted her team to sit back and enjoy its 20th win of the season.

The Red Storm reached that plateau for only the third time in the past 20 seasons. All three have come under Barnes Arico's tenure in the past six years.

Shenneika Smith scored 21 points to lead a balanced St. John's offense and the No. 25 Red Storm forced 31 turnovers to beat Louisville 91-56 on Wednesday.

"I think 20 wins is a pretty big deal," Barnes Arico said. "It's a fine line between enjoying the journey and really appreciating the accomplishments that are coming. I don't want them to lose focus on their ultimate goal, but still want them to be proud of what they've done."

With a major winter storm blanketing the area, the start of the game was moved up five hours to try and avoid the worst of the storm. Even with free admission, there was a sparse crowd of about 200 people, which included the Red Storm men's basketball team.

Kelly McManmon and Da'Shena Stevens each added 14 points for St. John's (20-4, 8-3 Big East), which has won seven of its last eight games. Nadirah McKenith had 12 points, seven assists and seven steals for the Red Storm.

"She's just been phenomenal for us," Barnes Arico said. "She dictates the tempo of the game. She steals from everyone at least once a game. She's been a difference in our team."

Monique Reid scored 20 points to lead Louisville (11-13, 3-8), which has lost four straight and is danger of becoming one of the rare teams not to make the NCAA tournament a season after playing in the championship game.

"We're just not very good right now," Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. "Unfortunately for a month there we had played some pretty good basketball. We weren't getting wins."

The Red Storm have a tough schedule ahead with a trip to top-ranked Connecticut on Saturday and a visit from No. 4 Notre Dame on Tuesday.

"The next few games are important but we're just worried about the next one," Smith said. "Take it one step at a time. I know UConn is next."

The Red Storm were ranked for the second straight week. It's only the fourth time in the history of the program that the team has been in the poll. They were last in the Top 25 for two weeks in 2006.

Leading by five early in the game, St. John's went on a 16-4 run to take control. Smith started the spurt with a 3-pointer and McKenith followed with a putback. Gwen Rucker hit a layup to cut Louisville's deficit to 18-12, but then the Red Storm scored 11 straight points capped by Sky Lindsay's layup that made it 29-12 midway through the period.

Freshman walk-on Shelby Harper finally ended the Cardinals' drought by hitting a 3-pointer and Rucker followed with a jumper, but that's as close as Louisville would get.

St. John's closed the half by scoring 13 of the final 17 points, including a three-point play by Stevens with 35.5 seconds left to take a 46-24 lead at the half.

Louisville shot 55 percent (11 for 20) from the field in the first 20 minutes, but committed 23 turnovers. The Cardinals finished the game shooting 47 percent from the field, but gave up 40 points on their turnovers.

"We've been reeling, we've got to find a way to stop it or it's going to continue to be ugly," Walz said.

The lead reached 36 in the second half.