St. John's Captures Fifth-Straight Win, Downs Wildcats, 70-64|
Jan. 14, 2018
QUEENS, N.Y. - Playing its third game in the span of just five days, the St. John's women's basketball team collected its fifth-consecutive win by defeating Villanova, 70-64, on Sunday afternoon at Carnesecca Arena.
The win marks the first five-game winning streak in BIG EAST play for the Red Storm (12-7, 5-3 BIG EAST) since the 2013-14 season, and its first back-to-back victories over the Wildcats (14-3, 4-3 BIG EAST) in four years.
Maya Singleton was her usual self in the triumph, collecting her 13th double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The senior also dished out a career-high five assists and stole a pass.
Alisha Kebbe also found her stroke from outside, hitting a pair of triples to lead the Johnnies from downtown. The sophomore totaled 16 points on 5-of-10 (50%) shooting from the field, while also tallying six rebounds.
Tiana England and Andrayah Adams both reached double figures for the Red Storm, scoring 12 and 10 points, respectively. Adams was crucial down the stretch for the home side, making a trio of shots from the charity stripe in the final minute to cement the win.
Facing the best defensive team in the conference, St. John's shot 25-of-51 (49.0%) from the field, including 6-of-11 (54.5%) from beyond-the-arc. The percentage from three was a season high for the Wildcats, who are receiving votes in both national polls. The Red Storm's 70 points scored were also the second-most the Wildcats have allowed this season.
After the Red Storm jumped ahead 4-0, Villanova responded with a 7-0 run to grab its first lead at 7-4, but the Red Storm answered by striking for 8 of the next 13 points to end the first quarter with a 14-12 advantage.
The opening ten minutes were then capped by Akina Wellere hitting a three as the buzzer sounded to send the home side back in front, 14-12.
The early minutes of the second quarter proved to be a back-and-forth affair, as the two teams traded leads six times, but St. John's finally found some separation in the final two minutes of the period. After both teams continued to trade baskets, Singleton, Kebbe, and England stuck for three-consecutive buckets to spark a 6-0 run for the Red Storm before the Wildcats hit a shot in the dying seconds to send the teams into the locker room the Johnnies holding a 29-25 edge.
The trio of baskets was highlighted by the slick passing of England and Singleton. First, England found Kebbe on a back-door cut off an in-bound play. On the following possession, Singleton connected with England on another weak-side play that allowed the freshman to score inside.
Singleton led all scorers in the opening half with 10 points while also grabbing six rebounds and two assists.
Coming out of the halftime break, the Red Storm saw its lead hit double digits on a pair of triples from Kebbe and Qadashah Hoppie, along with an England layup, to go up 37-27 just three minutes into the third.
After the lead grew as high as 11, Villanova began to chip away. The Wildcats held the Johnnies without a field goal for over three minutes of action while striking for seven-consecutive points to cut the lead to 39-35 with just over four minutes to play in the third stanza.
With just a minute remaining in the quarter, Villanova cut the deficit to three, 44-41, before the Red Storm used the free throw line and forced a pair of Wildcat turnovers to move ahead 46-41 after three periods.
The Wildcats continued the momentum they gained at the end of the third to claw the advantage down to one, 48-47, by starting the quarter on a 6-2 run to force a St. John's timeout just 1:22 into the fourth.
Singleton cemented her double-double with 6:19 to play in the game when the forward battled for a defensive rebound and caused Villanova guard Alex Louin to commit her fourth foul.
The senior then fed Adams in the post for a floater in the paint to give the Johnnies a 54-49 lead and force a Wildcat timeout.
Villanova finally tracked St. John's down with a 5-0 run to tie the game at 54 before Hoppie struck for a quick six points and the defense suffocated the offensive attack for the Wildcats to force another Villanova timeout and restore the six-point advantage, 60-54.
Kebbe drilled a three from the wing that looked to be the dagger, giving the Red Storm a 63-54 lead. Villanova rallied again; however, scoring five-quick points to bring the score to 63-59 with just under 40 seconds to play.
St. John's was able to convert its free throws down the stretch and hold off the final push from the Wildcats to close out its fifth-consecutive win.
The Red Storm will now enjoy a break from action before taking the court on Jan. 21 to battle Seton Hall on the road.