Dec. 6, 2013
QUEENS, N.Y. – The St. John’s women’s basketball team suffered its second defeat of the season on Friday evening, falling 69-55 to the hosting Auburn Tigers in Auburn, Ala. The Red Storm now has a record of 5-2 while the Tigers improved to 6-3.
St. John’s bench outscored Auburn’s 14-4 and the Red Storm shot 58.3 from the field in the second half and scored 34 points in the paint overall but could not notch its second away victory of the season. The Tigers held St. John’s to a season low in halftime and total points, and turned 22 Red Storm turnovers into 22 points while shooting 50 percent for the game.
“I thought Auburn did a good job of doing the things they do well,” said St. John’s head coach Joe Tartamella. “I’ve got some younger players who haven’t seen that type of pressure before, and I thought that showed a little bit today. We played harder in the second half and I’m confident that we will get better.”
Sophomore guard Aliyyah Handford, the country’s ninth leading scorer entering Friday’s game, netted a team-high 18 points on an efficient 7-of-12 shooting, and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Handford, who added four rebounds and three assists, has scored at least 18 points in each of the first seven games of the season.
Freshman point guard Aaliyah Lewis added eight points, four assists and two steals for St. John’s, while classmate Jade Walker hit on both of her field goal attempts to finish with a career-high four points off the Red Storm bench.
Auburn scored the first six points of the contest before a Handford layup on an assist from senior forward Amber Thompson followed by a pair of free throws by Lewis cut the Red Storm’s deficit to 6-4. The Tigers would score the next six points, however, and go on to take a 35-19 advantage into halftime.
Despite St. John’s hitting on 14-of-24 of its field goal attempts, including 2-of-4 from behind the 3-point line in the final 20 minutes, the Tigers maintained their lead in the second half. With 3:01 remaining in the game, back-to-back field goals by seniors Keylantra Langley and captain Briana Brown followed by a 3-pointer by sophomore Ashley Perez and steal and layup by Lewis got St. John’s within 16 at 66-50.That’s as close as the Red Storm would get, however, as Auburn would remain undefeated in four games at Auburn Arena thanks in part to 28 points from junior Hasina Muhammad.
Up next, the Red Storm returns to Queens, N.Y. to host the St. John’s Chartwells Holiday Classic, taking on Drexel on Saturday, Dec. 14, and James Madison on Sunday, Dec. 15.