Feb. 9, 2018
VILLANOVA, Pa. - After an opening 30 minutes that featured 11 lead changes, Villanova outscored the Red Storm 29-11 in the fourth quarter to vault past St. John’s, 69-52, on Friday afternoon at Jake Nevin Field House.
The Red Storm (14-11, 7-7 BIG EAST) who allowed 38 points or fewer in back-to-back victories last weekend, has now dropped four straight away from Carnesecca Arena.
Maya Singleton put together her best outing since the last time these two programs met in mid January, as the senior recorded her 14th double-double of the seasonwith 11 points and 18 rebounds.
Alisha Kebbe led the way offensively for the Johnnies, scoring 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting. The sophomore hit a team-high three triples and grabbed six boards.
Tiana England also reached double figures with 12 points, four assists, and two rebounds.
As a team, St. John’s shot 40.0% (22-of-55) from the field, but only converted at a 35.7% (10-of-28) clip in the second half.
The 11 threes hit by Villanova (19-5, 9-4 BIG EAST) are tied for the most allowed this season by the Red Storm, who surrendered the same total at Xavier on Jan. 7.
Mary Gedaka led all scorers with 21 points on 8-of-10 from the field, while Alex Louin (15) and Jannah Tucker (13) also reached double figures for the Wildcats.
Louin came alive in the fourth quarter for the home side, scoring 12 of her 15 points in the final stanza. The guard finished the day 5-for-5 from deep, in addition to grabbing 11 rebounds for a double-double.
St. John’s got off to the start it needed on the defensive side of the ball, holding the Wildcats without a bucket for the opening 4:48 of the game.
During that same span, the Johnnies struck for the contest’s first 10 points, highlighted by five points from Kebbe, and a deep triple from Akina Wellere to push the visitors out to a 10-0 lead.
After Villanova finally found the scoreboard with a three, the Red Storm continued to convert on the offensive side by shooting at a 46.7% (7-for-15) clip from the field to maintain its six-point lead after one quarter.
Singleton began to take over as the first period wore on, as the senior scored six points over the final five minutes of the frame while also grabbing four rebounds.
Villanova kept its foot on the gas to open the second, answering the 10-0 run by the Johnnies to start the game with a 12-0 spurt of its own to take their first lead of the game, 18-16, with 7:19 remaining in the half.
Facing its first deficit of the day, St. John’s responded with a 7-0 stretch to restore a 23-18 lead just beyond the midway point of the frame. Singleton proved to be the catalyst of the run for the Red Storm, scoring three points and securing an offensive rebound.
Continuing the theme of runs, it was the home side’s turn to respond as Villanova embarked on an 8-2 stretch, highlighted by a Tucker old fashioned three-point play to push the Wildcats in front, 26-25, with just over three minutes to play in the first half.
Both sides traded baskets down the stretch as the Wildcats turned a six-point deficit after the first quarter into a 30-27 halftime advantage.
Gedaka proved to be a force for Villanova in the opening half, scoring 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting, collecting three rebounds, and two steals.
Singleton led the way for the Johnnies with 11 points and nine rebounds over the opening 20 minutes, while England recorded four points and a trio of assists.
St. John’s came out of the locker room with a 5-0 run to open the second half, as Kebbe made a layup and Wellere drained another three to put the Red Storm in front, 32-30, before Tucker replied with a triple of her own.
Singleton cemented her 14th double-double of the season by grabbing four rebounds in the opening three minutes of the third. Her 11th rebound of the game allowed Kebbe to put the Johnnies in front, 34-33, with a putback.
Kebbe’s hot shooting continued throughout the stanza as the sophomore hit her second trey from the corner, and England chipped in a jumper of her own to put the visitors in front 39-33.
During the seven-point spurt, St. John’s held the Wildcats without a field goal for over four minutes of action.
Villanova answered with seven straight, as Adrianna Hahn cut the deficit two , 39-37, before a Kelly Jekot three put the Wildcats in front, 40-39, with under 15 seconds to play in the third. The triple was the first made basket on the night for Jekot after missing her previous seven attempts.
In the dying seconds, England raced down the court and sank a jumper as the buzzer sounded to send the Johnnies into the fourth quarter with a 41-40 lead.
Villanova came out firing in the fourth quarter, using an 8-0 run to build its largest lead of the game at the time, 48-41, with 7:39 to play. Louin hit back-to-back threes to spark the run for the Wildcats, and forced a Red Storm timeout.
Out of the timeout, Andrayah Adams hit a jumper to cut the lead down to five, but a Jekot three-point play pushed the lead to 51-43.
After the deficit reached as high as 11, Kebbe connected on her third triple of the game off a great pass from Wellere to bring the visitors within eight, 56-48, with just over five minutes to play.
Louin continued to launch from deep in the final quarter, sinking her fourth three is as many attempts to restore the 11-point advantage.
Villanova put the finishing touches on its win by hitting 10 of its last 12 shots from the field, including a fifth trey from Louin, to close out the win.
St. John’s will close out the road trip against Georgetown on Sunday at McDonough Arena. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. and can be seen on the BIG EAST Digital Network.