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SJU women climb into national rankings

By Dylan Butler

They sat there as punishment from coach Kim Barnes Arico for arriving late for the morning shoot-around at Carnesecca Arena.St. John's survived without its 1-2 punch early and thrived with them the rest of the way, beating West Virginia, 74-70.With its fourth straight win, the Red Storm improved to 17-3 overall, 7-2 in the Big East and 8-0 at home, 2-0 at MSG. St. John's entered the AP Poll at No. 25, its first national ranking since 1984.Wright missed the opening 6:07 while Clark was out for 8:16 but they scored 19 points apiece to lead St. John's. In her first start of the year at point guard, Greeba Barlow had 14 points and five assists and Tara Walker added 11 points for St. John's.Britney White had 18 points and Meg Bulger added 14 for West Virginia, which fell to 11-7, 3-4. Bulger, the younger sister of St. Louis Rams quarterback Marc Bulger, fell to the court, writhing in pain while clutching her left knee with 4:54 left in the second half.It was feared Bulger, one of the top guards in the Big East, tore her anterior cruciate ligament. The All-American had an MRI Monday and the results weren't scheduled to be released until Wednesday.”We need to make the decision, whether we're going to continue to play or whether we're going to put our head down and feel sorry for ourselves,” West Virginia coach Mike Carey said.St. John's shot a blistering 66.7 percent in the first half and led 44-35 at the break. West Virginia, which shot 53.8 percent in the first half, went on a 10-2 run after halftime and led 53-52 on a White three-pointer.But the Red Storm didn't panic, as it did after giving up a double-digit lead in a 60-57 loss at Marquette Dec. 6. Instead it went inside to the dependable Clark, who converted a three-point play to put the Red Storm back ahead.”That loss, I'm still not happy about it, but maybe it taught us what we have to do,” Barnes Arico said. “We're only down a bucket, keep on playing and our shots will fall.””The mistake that I made was a mistake and I live and I learn from it,” said Clark, who became the 14th player to reach the 1,000-point plateau at St. John's. “I realized I had to keep the level, or match the level or make it a little higher.”The Mountaineers rallied to tie the game at 64 after Bulger was helped off the court but Clark knocked down a pair of free throws and Barlow buried a critical three-pointer to give the Red Storm a 69-64 lead with 1:48 left.Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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