Sweet Redemption, St. John's Defeats West Virginia 59-51, At BIG EAST Championships|
March 5, 2011
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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - St. John's junior forward Da'Shena Stevens scored 14 points to help St. John's power past West Virginia, 59-51, on Saturday in the second round of the BIG EAST Championships.
Sophomore guard Shenneika Smith added 13, while senior forward Centhya "Coco" Hart had 11 for the Red Storm (21-9), who advanced to the BIG EAST quarterfinals for the 19th time in school history. St. John's will play second-seeded DePaul in a Sunday evening match up at 6 p.m., televised live on ESPNU.
The win over the Mountaineers (23-9) was a first for St. John's in a three-game history in BIG EAST Tournament play. The victory was also redemption for the Red Storm, who lost to West Virginia, 69-49, in Morgantown on Monday in the final regular season game. St. John's will look to do the same against DePaul on Sunday, as the Blue Demons defeated the Red Storm, 69-54, at Carnesecca on Jan. 8.
With the game tied at 48, Smith hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock ran out to give St. John's a three-point lead. Taylor Palmer tied it two minutes later with her own 3 from the corner.
That would be the last basket the Mountaineers would score as St. John's Hart banked one off the glass for St. John's to take a two-point lead with 2:26 left on the clock.
Coming off the final media timeout, with less than two minutes to play, rookie guard Keylantra Langley drove to the rim for a layup to put St. John's up 55-51 at 1:20. The Red Storm sank four free throws in the final 30 seconds for the win.
Sarah Miles scored 15 points to lead West Virginia, who finished the regular season in 10th place in the conference.
St. John's led 7-4 early on, but West Virginia came back and eventually tied the score at 14-14 with two free throws from Asya Bussie. Smith broke the 14-14 tie with a 3-pointer from the right top of the arc as the Red Storm led 17-14 with just over 10 minutes in the half. A layup from point guard Nadirah McKenith and a quick jumper from Stevens extended St. John's lead to seven, 21-14 with just over eight minutes to go.
St. John's extended its lead to 34-29 at the half.
Coming in off the break, West Virginia caught up and eventually tied the score at 38, after an open layup by Miles. But Stevens was fouled down low and sunk both foul shots to put St. John's back ahead two, 40-38 at the 13:14 mark.
West Virginia went on a five-point run to take its first lead since the first half, 43-40, but Amanda Burakoski scored a quick three after picking up the lose ball in a scuffle under the basket as the Red Storm and Mountaineers were tied at 43 with 10:58 left to go.
Burakoski broke the tie in St. John's favor, making the second of two shots at the foul line. The Red Storm took a 44-43 lead with 10:36 remaining.
Stevens followed with a jumper as time expired on the shot clock, but she was countered by a layup from Korinne Campbell. Stevens answered again with her 14th point of the night and put St. John's ahead 48-45 with less than eight minutes left.
Mountaineer senior, Liz Repella tied the game at 48 with a 3-ball from the corner. But Smith answered as she dropped in a long ball on a look from Stevens as the shot clock buzzer sounded on St. John's possession.
West Virginia answered two minutes later with another 3-pointer, this time from Taylor Palmer to tie the score at 51-51, but St. John's would come right back with an inside jumper from Hart.
With West Virginia trying to regain possession by fouling, McKenith and Smith hit four free throws to ice the game in St. John's favor.
Smith added three blocks to her 13 points with seven rebounds. Burakoski finished with nine points. McKenith and Stevens led the team in rebounding with eight each. The Red Storm got the better of the Mountaineers on the glass, outrebounding West Virginia, 38-33. On Monday, the Mountaineers won the rebounding battle, 46-30.
The BIG EAST Championship continues on Sunday with No. 5 vs. No. 4 Rutgers in the noon tip off, followed by No. 8 Georgetown vs. No. 1 Connecticut at 2 p.m. No. 7 St. John's and No. 2 DePaul will play at 6 p.m. for the first game of the night cap and No. 6 Louisville will play No. 3 Notre Dame at 8 p.m. Five of the first seven games of the tournament have been decided by five points or less.