Nov. 18, 2011
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. - Despite a first-half comeback, St. John's women's basketball was outscored 93-82 by Hofstra on Friday at the Mack Sports Complex. The Red Storm had three players score in double figures as junior Eugeneia McPherson led the trio with a season-high 22 points. Classmates Nadirah McKenith and Shenneika Smith both had near double-doubles on the night with McKenith recording 19 points and nine assists and Smith with 18 points, nine boards. The lead changed 12 times in the second half.
McPherson knocked in 9-of-10 free throws. As a team, St. John's went 17-for-21 from the foul line (81 percent).
The last time St. John's (1-2) scored 80 points was at USF on Feb. 16, 2011. The last time St. John's scored 80 points in a loss was against DePaul on Jan.15, 2008. The Red Storm lost 80-91 in overtime in Chicago.
For Hofstra, guard Katelyn Loper led a pack of four double-digit scorers with 29 points, shooting 11-for-20 from the field and sinking five long balls. Forward Shante Evans added 27 with 14 rebounds and Nicole Capurso and Candace Bellocchio helped with 14 and 12. Evans and Loper combined for 56 points, accounting for more than 60 percent of the team's total offense. Hofstra cracked the 90-point plateau for the second straight game.
Hofstra (2-1) made an early statement, going up by 13 six minutes in the game, 25-12. The Pride held on to the double-digit lead until the eight-minute mark, when St. John's began to mount a come back through the offensive efforts of McPherson and McKenith. McPherson hit both free throws to bring the Red Storm within one, 37-32 with 4:47 left in the half. With just over three minutes to go in the first period, Hofstra had regained a nine-point lead, but St. John's was resilient and went on a 7-2 run to come within one point going into the halftime break.
It seemed as though McKenith would have the last possession for St. John's in the half, as she sunk a jumper with four seconds left to bring St. John's within three, 45-42. However, on the inbound play, Smith intercepted Hofstra's pass under the basket and put it back up to cut the score to 45-44 as the teams went into their locker rooms at the period break.
Coming in off the break, St. John's continued to defend and forced Hofstra into a turnover that gave Smith possession. Smith's shot bounced off the rim, but Amber Thompson was there to put it back up and give St. John's its first lead of the game 46-45.
The Red Storm trained to maintain its hold on the lead as McPherson hit a layup under the basket through three Hofstra defenders to go up 48-45, 30 seconds later. But Evans answered right back, sinking her favorite shot under the basket. Evans scored the first 10 points in the half for Hofstra, that eventually put the Pride back up one, 55-54 with 15:30 left.
St. John's pushed back again as both Keylantra Langley, who finished the game with nine points, and McPherson hit layups to give the Red Storm back a three-point advantage, but Loper come off the next possession with a quick three to tie it up at 58-58 at 13:44.
The game of cat and mouse continued through the next minute, as St. John's would go up by three and Hofstra playing the catch up game to tie.
Coming in off the 12-minute media time out, Hofstra's Nicole Capurso hit a quick trey to switch the favor around as Hofstra regained a two-point lead 67-65. McKenith answered by with a layup through the lane.
The back and forth continued as both teams struggled to hang on to a lead.
With just under five minutes left to play, the tide of battle shifted in Hofstra's favor for good as the Pride went on a 10-0 run through the final minute of play. The Red Storm put an end to the scoring drought as Langley hit a three with 48 seconds remaining to cut the Pride's lead to seven, 87-80.
The Red Storm tried to duplicate the quick come back of the first half, but Hofstra made all four free throws in the final 30 seconds to maintain its hold on the victory.
St. John's will have a three-day break before hosting its third New York area team of the season at home on Tuesday. The Red Storm will welcome the Wagner Seahawks to Carnesecca Arena on Nov. 22 in the 6 p.m. contest of a women's and men's basketball doubleheader. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN3.
Friday's game against Hofstra was filmed on tape delay. It will air on FiOS1, available to Long Island, New Jersey, Washington, D.C. and on-demand customers, on Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. Check local listings.