Soon after the men’s team won big over #10 Creighton, the women’s team blew out Xavier, 74-37.
The stakes were high on this senior day. Most simply, if St. John’s won, they forced a five-way tie for third place in the Big East with the outcome to be determined by tie-breakers. So, there was a little extra something for the seniors - Alissa Alston, Shamachya Duncan, and Alisha Kebbe - to show at their last game at Carnesecca Arena.
Given what hung in the balance, the Red Storm came out hot, going on an 8-0 run early in the first quarter. Freshman Emma Nolan led the way for the Red Storm, whose 7 points on 2 of 4 from the floor and 2 of 3 from deep helped St. John’s to get out to a 24-12 lead to end the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Red Storm went cold offensively capped off by a six-minute drought to end the quarter. The team’s leading scorer, Qadashah Hoppie, averaging nearly 17 points a game, also could not get her game going offensively, scoring only 3 points on 0 of 5 from the field.
Fortunately for the Red Storm, the defense remained stingy, with Alisha Kebbe blocking 2 shots and picking up a steal to deter Xavier from getting into the paint. After the low scoring quarter, St. John’s went into the half up 34-21.
The third quarter had a mix of the offense from the first quarter and the defense from the second. The Red Storm held Xavier to 6 points on 3 of 17 from the field in the third quarter with key contributions from Tiana England who had 2 steals and Emma Nolan who had 2 blocks. Nolan not only played well defensively, but also was the team’s leading scorer in the quarter with 9 points on 1 of 3 from the field and 6 of 6 from the charity stripe. As a result, the Red Storm extended their lead to 57-27 at the end of the third.
As the pep-band played “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne early in the fourth quarter, the lyrics “going off the rails on a crazy train” rang true for the Johnnies. With a 30-point lead, the game was largely off the rails and St. John’s spent most of the fourth quarter both playing the seniors on their senior day and the developing freshman.
Unique Drake, one of the freshman who played only three minutes in the game prior to the fourth quarter, looked particularly good for St. John’s in the fourth. Drake added three points on 1 of 4 from the field to go along with 3 assists and 2 steals.
On the day, the Red Storm benefited from being better in transition than Xavier. Not only did St. John’s turn the ball over fewer times, 9 to Xavier’s 22, the Red Storm also converted those 22 turnovers into 24 points.
In short, it wasn’t particularly close after the tip with St. John’s winning 74-37.
Next, the Red Storm head to Chicago to participate in the Women’s Big East Tournament with the tournament opening on Friday at 11:00 AM.
St. John’s Red Storm
Emma Nolan: 16 points (3/7 FG, 3/6 3PT), 3 rebounds, 1 assist
Tiana England: 10 points (5/7 FG), 2 rebounds, 2 assists
Shamachya Duncan: 9 points (3/4 FG, 3/4 3PT)
Sarah Leyendecker: 8 points (3/6 FG), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers
Carrie Gross: 8 points (3/9 FG), 3 rebounds, 3 turnovers