St. John's Joy McCorvey and Notre Dame's Becca Bruszewski battle for a rebound during the first half.

#4 Irish Tripped Up By #22 St. John's, 76-71

Feb. 16, 2010

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NEW YORK (AP)–Shenneika Smith scored 23 points and Da’Shena Stevens added 21 to help No. 22 St. John’s upset No. 4 Notre Dame 76-71 on Tuesday night.

Sky Lindsay scored 13 points for the Red Storm (21-5, 9-4 BIG EAST), who had never beaten a top five opponent. They are off to the best start in coach Kim Barnes Arico’s eight-year tenure.

They were coming off a 66-52 loss at top-ranked UConn — the closest any team has come in the conference to the Huskies this season. The close loss to UConn helped St. John’s move up to No. 22 in the AP poll Monday — its highest ranking since 1983-84.

Skylar Diggins scored 18 of her 20 points in the second half and Brittany Mallory added 17 to lead the Fighting Irish (23-2, 10-2), who had won eight straight since losing to Connecticut on Jan. 16–its only other loss of the season.

Leading 61-57 with 8:30 left, St. John’s held Notre Dame without a point for over 6 minutes to extend its lead to 69-57 with 3:15 left.

Ashley Barlow finally ended the Irish’s drought, hitting a 3-pointer with 2:25 left. The Irish cut the deficit to 69-65 on Diggins’ three-point play with 52.6 seconds left after Lindsay had missed the front end of a 1-and-1.

Stevens hit the first of two free throws and then rebounded her own miss and was fouled. The sophomore forward connected on both to make it 72-65.

Notre Dame was missing starting guard Lindsay Schrader, who sprained her left ankle in Sunday’s win over DePaul. Schrader had played in 119 straight games for the Irish, including starting the last 73. She is day-to-day and was on the bench in a protective boot. Notre Dame plays at Georgetown on Saturday.

St. John’s led by 11 points early in the second half before Diggins took over. She scored seven of Notre Dame’s 10 points as the Irish cut their deficit to one. The freshman guard started the spurt with a three-point play then converted four free throws around Mallory’s three-point play.

Smith ended the run with five straight points to extend the lead back to 56-50 midway through the second half.

Notre Dame cut its deficit to 61-57 on Devereaux Peter’s putback with 8:30 left.

St. John’s took an 18-6 lead in the first 5 1/2 minutes of the game as Lindsay had seven points. Nadirah McKenith’s nifty drive down the middle of the lane for a layup capped the early spurt. St. John’s made eight of its first 12 shots, but then went cold from the field missing nine straight as Notre Dame climbed within 21-20 on Erica Williamson’s layup.

Kelly McManmon finally ended the 7-minute drought hitting a 3-pointer to start a 16-5 spurt that restored the 12-point lead. Smith’s layup with 2:08 left made it 37-25. Notre Dame closed to five and trailed by 39-32 at halftime.

Notre Dame leads the all-time series 18-3, but St. John’s has won the last three meetings at home, including a win over then-No. 9 Notre Dame in 2008.

St. John’s assistant coach Megan Duffy was a star guard for Notre Dame from 2003-06. She is one of three Irish players ever to have 1,000 points, 500 assists and 200 steals in her career.

— ND —

POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame sees its eight-game winning streak come to an end, with both of its losses this season coming on the road to ranked opponents … the Fighting Irish are 5-2 against Top 25 teams this season … Notre Dame loses to a New York school for only the fifth time in 52 career games, with three of those five losses coming on the last three Fighting Irish visits to St. John’s (2006, 2008, 2010) … five of the past seven series games between Notre Dame and St. John’s have been decided by 10 points or less … Notre Dame faced a tight turnaround (one day off between games) for the 10th time in the past two seasons, including the fifth time this season; the Fighting Irish are 8-2 on the back half of these quick turnarounds, with a 4-1 record this year … Notre Dame lost for the first time in 20 games this season when having three double-figure scorers … the Fighting Irish drop to 27-11 on the road in the past two-plus seasons (since the start of 2007-08), with eight of the past nine road defeats for Notre Dame coming by 12 points or fewer (average margin of defeat of only 7.25 ppg.) … Notre Dame registered double-digit steals for the 18th time this season … the Fighting Irish tied their season high with 10 blocked shots (also vs. #18/16 Vanderbilt on Dec. 31 at Purcell Pavilion) … Notre Dame shot 85 percent (17-of-20) from the foul line, with two of the three misses coming with four-tenths of a second remaining … freshman guard Skylar Diggins recorded her fifth 20-point game of the season, while setting new career highs for free throws made (10) and attempted (12) … Diggins is the first Fighting Irish player to make 10 foul shots in a game since March 25, 2008, when Charel Allen went 12-for-12 from the gift line in a 79-75 overtime win over #14/13 Oklahoma in the second round of the NCAA Championship in West Lafayette, Ind. … junior guard Brittany Mallory made her first start of the season (and fourth of her career) on Tuesday, and responded with 17 points in a career-high 36 minutes … junior forward Devereaux Peters flirted with a double-double, coming off the bench to tally nine points, a career-high 14 rebounds (previous: 12 vs. Connecticut on Jan. 27, 2008) and career-best six blocks (previous: five vs. Miami-Ohio on Nov. 9, 2007) … Peters’ six blocks are the most by a Notre Dame player in a single game since Dec. 2, 2004, when Teresa Borton also had six blocks in an 82-73 overtime loss to #15 Michigan State at Purcell Pavilion … senior guard/tri-captain Ashley Barlow collected a season-high six steals (she had five on two occasions, most recently this past Sunday vs. DePaul at Purcell Pavilion) … Barlow’s six steals give her 63 thefts for the season, making her the third Notre Dame player ever to record 60+ steals in four consecutive seasons, joining Coquese Washington (1989-93) and current Fighting Irish assistant coach Niele Ivey (1997-2001) in that elite company … Barlow ties Diggins and Mallory for team-high honors with her fourth “5-5-5” game of the season, and her second in as many games … Peters notches her third career “5-5-5” game, and first this season.