Feb. 16, 2018
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QUEENS, N.Y. - Led by a career-high 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting by Alisha Kebbe, the St. John’s women’s basketball team defeated Seton Hall, 75-56, on Friday evening at Carnesecca Arena.
The Red Storm (16-11, 9-7 BIG EAST) have now won four of its last five games overall and five-consecutive games on its home floor, inching closer to No. 4 seeded Creighton in the conference standings.
Kebbe proved to be the difference maker on offense for the Johnnies, as the sophomore reached the 20-point plateau for the first time in her career on a near-perfect shooting night. Kebbe also collected three rebounds and a pair of assists, steals, and blocks.
Qadashah Hoppie also reached double figures for St. John’s in the victory, scoring 18 points on a 3-for-4 game from behind-the-arc.
Maya Singleton and Akina Wellere recorded to help lead the Johnnies to victory 11 apiece. Singleton just missed her 16th double-double of the season with nine rebounds, while Wellere scored nine of her 11 points from three.
Despite coming off the bench for the first time in her career, Tiana England was still effective for the Red Storm. The redshirt freshman poured in four points, dished out four dimes, grabbed three rebounds, and collected a steal.
As a team, St. John’s shot 26-of-46 (56.5%) from the field in the victory and held the Pirates to just a 43.8% clip (21-of-48).
Both teams were trading baskets in the early going of the contest with Kebbe being the focal point of the offense for the Red Storm. The Philadelphia native scored the first five points of the game for the home side.
St. John’s started to take command in the middle portion of the first. With Hoppie at the point, the freshman hit a deadeye three before finding Singleton at the top of the key to give the Johnnies a 14-8 lead with just under four minutes to play in the quarter.
The Johnnies continued to click on offense throughout the opening 10 minutes, converting on seven of their 11 field goals tries during the quarter, including a 2-for-3 showing from downtown, to lead 20-12 after one.
Turnovers were a key to the offense for the Red Storm in the opening quarter, turning six takeaways into four points.
St. John’s kept up the pressure as the game moved into the second frame, scoring the quarter’s first eight points after tallying the final bucket of the quarter and forcing an additional pair of Seton Hall (15-12, 7-9 BIG EAST) turnovers to build a 28-12 lead just two minutes into the period.
The punctuation mark of the 10-0 run for the Johnnies came on a slick feed from Imani Littleton to Kebbe who knocked down a corner triple and forced a Pirate timeout.
After Seton Hall cut the lead down to 13, St. John’s erupted on an 8-0 run thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers from Hoppie and Wellere to give the home side its largest lead of the half, 40-19, with under two minutes to play before the break.
The Pirates ended the half with a quick pair of buckets to send the teams to the locker room with the Red Storm leading 40-23.
On the team’s opening possession of the second half, Wellere became the second player to reach doubles figures by knocking down a three off a dime from England to restore the 20-point advantage.
St. John’s continued to keep its foot on the gas with both England and Hoppie in the game as the duo combined for a great passing play off of an inbound to keep the lead at 51-31 with just over two minutes to play in the quarter.
The Red Storm pushed the lead to 23 with a beautiful give-and-go play between Andrayah Adams and Hoppie that led to the freshman draining her third triple of the game.
One possession later, Hoppie decided to earn three points the old-fashioned way with a hard drive to the basket plus the foul to give St. John’s a 59-35 lead before Kebbe cemented a new career-high with a layup in the dying seconds of the third to put the hosts in front, 61-35, going into the fourth.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Johnnies held the Pirates to 4-of-13 (30.8%) from the field in the third quarter and forced a trio of turnovers.
Seton Hall put together a small burst in the fourth quarter, trimming a 29-point lead down to 18 with a run late in the game, but that was as close as the Pirates would get in the final moments as the Red Storm held on for the win.
St. John’s returns to action next Friday when the Johnnies host conference-leading DePaul at 7 p.m. inside Carnesecca Arena. The action can be seen live on the BIG EAST Digital Network.