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St. John’s had been on a roll even before its victory over UConn, winning 10 of its previous 12 games. That run started when the Red Storm finally got healthy. Senior Da’Shena Stevens, who had 15 points in the win over UConn, missed the first 10 games of the season while recovering from an offseason injury to her left knee.

“She’s a special kid,” Barnes Arico said of Stevens. “We lost the face of our program when she was out. It was a devastating blow in all aspects. Once she returned you can see how the confidence grew throughout the team.”

Since her return, St. John’s has knocked off four ranked teams, beating Rutgers twice, Louisville and now UConn.

“It feels amazing just for our team and the stretch we’ve been playing so far,” Stevens said. “I think we’ve been playing great. We’ve been beating teams. Right now we are just feeling it.”

The Red Storm have three games left in the regular season and with a little help could finish second in the conference surpassing their best mark ever under Barnes Arico _ a third place finish in 2005-06. St. John’s did share the conference title in 1983 and 1985.

A third straight trip to the NCAA tournament seems assured now. The Red Storm have made it to the second round the last two seasons.

“A couple of years ago, when we were first on the national scene, it was a different role for us,” Barnes Arico said. “These kids have been there. They know what it takes to be successful. I’ve been lucky to have kids who aren’t fearful.”

Barnes Arico refuses to think about what could happen down the road, only wanting to focus on the next game.

“Big picture things I can’t stress about that,” she said. “I’ll just give myself a big stomachache. We just need to focus on West Virginia and take it one game at a time.”

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Follow Doug Feinberg on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/Dougfeinberg