Dec. 4, 2011
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QUEENS, N.Y. - Red Storm rookie Amber Thompson found her groove against Hartford on Sunday as she recorded her first-ever collegiate double-double with a 19-point, 13-rebound performance in St. John's non-conference women's basketball action. Thompson and the Red Storm defeated the Hawks, 70-45 as St. John's extends its home-winning streak to four games.
Thompson's double-double was both a career high in points and rebounds.
"I was really happy with our effort tonight and I think that everyone can see that we are improving, even though we are very young," said head coach Kim Barnes Arico. "It is a process. We are getting better and better. Hartford is a quality team, a consistent NCAA tournament team. So this was a good win for us tonight and we played really well and we played hard throughout."
Thompson was helped by junior Eugeneia McPherson with her third-straight double-digit scoring effort. McPherson had 14 points for the Red Storm.
With the win, St. John's advances to 5-3 on the season and has put together a three-game winning streak, with two victories over teams from the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
St. John's began with a 6-0 start, but Hartford (5-3) climbed back to take an eventual 9-8 lead as the Hawks shot 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. From there, the Red Storm took control, scoring 13 unanswered points to jump out to a 21-9 lead at the 10:48 mark in the first half. McPherson knocked down a wide-open 3-ball from the top of the arc to give St. John's its first 10-point lead of the game and Thompson topped the run with a jumper in front of the net.
Two free throws from Hartford's Alyssa Englert at 10:31 put the Hawks back on the board and their points since 17:38.
A pull up jumper from Tesia Harris
at 9:43 put St. John's back up by 12.
Hartford chipped away at St. John's lead to come within five, 30-25, with 1:17 left in the period as Cherelle Moore knocked in a jumper in the paint.
McPherson sunk both free throws down the stretch, but it was a clutch 3-pointer by sophomore Keylantra Langley as the buzzer went off signifying the end of the half that gave St. John's back a 10-point lead and the momentum going into the second period.
Coming back from the break, St. John's held on to a consistent double-figure lead then broke it open toward the end of the half. Leading by 14, 48-34, St. John's put together a 13-5 run to widen the gap to 22 points, 61-39, after a layup and extra bucket from McPherson with less than five minutes remaining.
In the final two minutes, two made free throws from Langley and a jumper in the paint by junior Jennifer Blanding put St. John's up 25, 70-45 for the final.
Helping Thompson's 19 points were her nine offensive rebounds. The Red Storm scored 20 second-chance points. Thompson also shot 9-of-14 from the free throw line while the rest of the team shot 11-of-17. In the first half, St. John's was just 41.7 percent from the foul line. In the second period, the Red Storm improved to 78.9 percent (15-of-19).
Juniors Nadirah McKenith and Shenneika Smith, as well as Langley each had nine points apiece. McKenith also tallied six assists and three steals.
For Hartford, Daphne Elliott led with 12 points, while Ruthanne Doherty added 10 points and a team-best seven rebounds.
Up next, St. John's will look to extend its winning streak to four games as the Red Storm travels to Chicago to face its first BIG EAST opponent of the season with DePaul. The Red Storm and Blue Demons will play tip off at 1 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday, Dec. 7.