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St. John's women's basketball captures Big East title

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The St. John's women's basketball team ended a 28-year BIG EAST championship drought Tuesday with a 50-37 victory over Creighton.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

While the men's team ended their season last night, the women's squad is partying like it's 1988.

The St. John's women's basketball team ended a 28-year BIG EAST championship drought Tuesday with a 50-37 victory over Creighton.

The No. 4 seed Red Storm (23-9) are also bound for the NCAA Division I tournament, the program's 10th, by clinching the league's automatic berth. This is their sixth trip to the big dance in the last seven years. Overall, the Red Storm has now earned bids to a postseason tournament in nine-consecutive campaigns.

Junior Aaliyah Lewis scored 14 points and senior Aliyyah Handford won the tourney's most outstanding player while adding 11 points, 3 assists and 2 steals. Senior Danaejah Grant made the All-Tournament Team and posted nine points, grabbed five boards and dished out three assists in the championship.

Handford averaged 18.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 3.0 assists per outing. Grant averaged 16.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.

Creighton managed just 24.5 percent (13-of-53) from the field while St. John's was 17-of-51 (33.3 percent).

En route to the title, the Johnnies upset two-time defending BIG EAST champs, No. 18 DePaul in the semifinal game 75-66.

The tournament title was St. John's fourth overall and first since 1988. The Red Storm also won in 1983 and 1984 and appeared in the 2014 championship, losing to DePaul, one of the strongest and most consistent programs in women's hoops.

The Big East appears likely to have at least three representatives when the NCAA Division I tournament field is announced. In addition to St. John's, No. 18 DePaul (25-8) and Seton Hall (23-8) are the other post-season contenders.

St. John's will learn its destination for the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Monday, March 14.