Jan. 10, 2018
Final Stats | Box Score (PDF)
INDIANAPOLIS - Using a dominant fourth quarter, the St. John’s women’s basketball team recorded its third-straight win on Wednesday evening with a 73-55 wire-to-wire victory over Butler at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.
“Proud of our effort tonight as we finished up a long road trip,” said St. John’s head coach Joe Tartamella. “I thought we grinded our way through the first half and finished the game as well as we have all year.”
St. John’s (10-7, 3-3 BIG EAST) was led by Alisha Kebbe’s first-career double-double, as the sophomore scored a team-high 14 points while grabbing 11 rebounds. The guard also dished out four assists and recorded a trio of steals.
Double-double machine Maya Singleton captured her 11th of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds; all 12 of the senior’s points came in the second half.
Butler (11-6, 3-2 BIG EAST), who leads the conference in rebounding margin during BIG EAST play, was held to 29 boards on the game while the Red Storm finished with 35.
The Johnnies held the Bulldogs to 1-of-11 (9.1%) from three in the game, and did not allow a converted triple until the St. John’s lead was already 18 points.
Defense has been the catalyst for St. John’s during its three-game winning streak and it was evident tonight from early in the first quarter. The Johnnies forced Butler into a pair of turnovers in the opening four minutes and held the Bulldogs to 1-of-8 shooting from the field to build a 6-2 lead.
In the quarter, St. John’s held Butler to 4-of-12 (33.3%) shooting from the field, including an 0-for-4 mark from three. The Johnnies also turned five turnovers into five points and converted on six second-chance points to build a 13-10 lead after 10 minutes.
Hoppie and Kebbe led the Red Storm offensively in the first quarter, scoring five and four respectively. Kebbe struck for four points quickly in the period before Hoppie took over on offense as the opening 10 minutes wore on. The freshman put an exclamation on the frame when she forced a steal and converted a left-handed layup through contact before sinking a free throw to complete the three-point play.
After the Bulldogs cut the St. John’s lead to one, 17-16, with just over six minutes to play in the half, the Hoppie erupted on a personal 5-0 run to put the visiting side up 22-17 and give the freshman 10 points on the night.
Butler responded with a 5-0 spurt of its own and held the Johnnies without a bucket for over two minutes to tie the game at 22 before Tiana England gave the Red Storm a 24-22 lead with 2:18 to play.
In the closing moments of the first half, Kayla Charles rejected a shot at the rim and fired a full-court pass to England, who found Kebbe cutting to the hoop, as the sophomore guard beat the buzzer the send the Johnnies into the break with a 26-22 lead.
The Red Storm held the Bulldogs without a point for the final 3:17 of the opening half, and held Butler without a 3-pointer (0-for-5) in the 20-minute stanza.
St. John’s also struggled from three in the opening half, missing all nine of its attempts, while connecting on 12-of-20 (60%) from inside the 3-point line to build its lead.
Hoppie led all players with 10 points on 4-of-8 from the field in the opening half. The freshman also recorded a steal while playing the entire 20 minutes.
Singleton was held without a point on three shot attempts and a trio of rebounds as the senior was forced to sit for much of the second quarter due to two early fouls.
Also sitting in foul trouble was Imani Littleton, who picked up her third foul with only two minutes remaining in the opening half. While on the court, the senior scored four points, grabbed three rebounds, and rejected a shot.
St. John’s held the Bulldogs scoreless through the opening 2:20 of the third quarter, extending the Butler scoring drought to 5:37 of playing time. During that stretch, Kebbe extended the St. John’s lead to seven, 29-22, by hitting the game’s first 3-pointer of the game.
Butler continued to dwindle the St. John’s lead down by hitting free throws as the Bulldogs scored four of their next six points from the line to cut the deficit to one, 35-34.
Singleton found her offensive touch in the third quarter, striking for a pair of buckets and helping Littleton convert a fast-break basket to push the lead back to five, 39-34, with under four minutes to play in the third quarter.
Butler continued to hang around in the third, closing the gap to 43-42 with just over a minute to play. The Bulldogs used the St. John’s foul trouble and good shooting from the charity stripe to cut into the deficit.
Kebbe responded with another three-point play to give the sophomore 14 points on the night, and Charles converted a layup in the final seconds of the stanza to give the Johnnies a 48-42 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Despite playing with four fouls, Singleton continued to be a force on the glass as the senior scored on another self-created second-chance opportunity to give the Red Storm a 52-44 lead with 6:19 to play.
Out of the media timeout, St. John’s continued to put pressure on the Bulldogs by embarking on an 8-0 run to build its largest lead of the game at the time, 58-44, with 5:18 to play. The run was started by Kebbe cementing her first-career double-double on the offensive glass, which led to an Andrayah Adams bucket. Moments later, Hoppie recorded a steal and found England for a layup to extend the lead to 10. Singleton recorded a block on the defensive end, leading to another Adams basket to push the advantage to 12 and forcing the Butler timeout.
Butler finally hit its first three of the game with 2:59 to play after missing its first nine attempts, but St. John’s responded with its second triple of the game when England hit a corner three with the shot clock expiring. The shot put the Johnnies up by 20 with just over two minutes to play.
The Red Storm closed out the win by hitting 6-of-7 from the field and outscored Butler 25-13 in the final stanza.
St. John’s returns to Carnesecca Arena on Friday when the Johnnies host rival Georgetown at 7 p.m.