St. John's Drops BIG EAST Home Opener to Providence, 49-44

Jan. 2, 2018

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QUEENS, N.Y. - In a game defined by defense, the St. John's women's basketball team fell to Providence, 49-44, on Tuesday night at Carnesecca Arena.

The Friars (8-7, 1-2 BIG EAST) limited St. John's to one basket over the final four minutes of the contest to hold off the Red Storm (7-7, 0-3 BIG EAST) and secure its first BIG EAST win of the season.

Maya Singleton continued to be a dominate force in the paint for the Johnnies, collecting her ninth double-double of the season. The senior scored a team-high 13 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, eight of which came on the offensive glass.

Tuesday also marked the second-career double-digit rebound effort for Kayla Charles, as the freshman secured 10 boards while also collecting a pair of steals, blocks, and points.

In a similar way to Saturday's game at DePaul, the St. John's offense immediately made an impact by scoring on the game's first two possessions. Akina Wellere drilled a 3-pointer to give the Red Storm a 5-0 lead, but suffered an injury on the play and was forced to come out of the game just minutes into the contest.

The injury seemed to stifle the offense for the Johnnies as the home side endured a six-minute scoring drought that allowed the Friars to embark on a 12-0 run to gain a 12-5 lead heading into the game's first media timeout.

Wellere's replacement, Qadashah Hoppie, caught fire in the final minutes of the first quarter by scoring the next eight points for the Red Storm on a pair of triples and a spinning layup to bring the Johnnies within a point, 14-13, at the end of one quarter. The freshman also grabbed two rebounds, stole a pass, and recorded a block in the opening ten minutes of action.

St. John's also cranked up the defense as the quarter wore on, holding the Friars to a single basket over the final 3:12 of the first period.

The defensive pressure continued in the second quarter, as the Red Storm forced Providence to use nearly every second of the shot clock on each possession and did not allow a point until beyond the four-minute mark of the period.

After Providence used a 6-0 run to take the lead, St. John's responded with a two baskets off turnovers and a pair of free throws to head into the locker room with a 23-22 advantage at the half.

In that second quarter, the Red Storm defense held the Friars without a point for nearly seven minutes of game action.

Hoppie led all scorers with ten points at the half while Singleton had eight rebounds to lead St. John's. Charles matched a career high for rebounds with five in the first half.

Turnovers defined the third quarter, as both teams continued to play strong defense. St. John's forced four turnovers, but committed seven on its own to allow each side to trade punches.

 After Providence grabbed a brief lead, Tamesha Alexander, who also saw extended minutes due to the Wellere injury, drained a pair of jumpers, including one at the buzzer, to give the Johnnies a three-point edge, 37-34, after 30 minutes.

St. John's grabbed its largest lead of the night since the 5-0 burst to start the game just moments into the fourth quarter when Tiana England put the Red Storm up by five, 39-34, with a jumper from the wing.

Providence responded again by holding St. John's scoreless and striking for seven-straight points to regain the lead, 41-39, with just under six minutes to play.

Minutes later, Singleton cemented her BIG EAST leading ninth double-double of the season with a pair of shots from the charity stripe to pull the Red Storm to within a point, 43-42, with 3:58 to play.

 After cutting the deficit to a point, St. John's was unable to covert on 12 of its next 13 shots from the field and Providence converted free throws down the stretch to cement the win.

Providence's Maddie Jolin led the game with 14 points and was a perfect 4-of-4 from beyond the arc. The Friars also converted on 88% (14-of-16) of their free throws in the game, including a perfect 6-for-6 in the final minute.

St. John's will continue its two-game homestand on Friday against Creighton at 7 p.m.




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