Defense Drives St. John's Past Xavier, 70-36

Feb. 4, 2018

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Postgame Press Conference
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QUEENS, N.Y. - After recording the most lopsided conference win in 13 years just two days ago, the St. John's women's basketball team added another blowout victory under its belt with a 70-36 triumph over Xavier on Sunday afternoon at Carnesecca Arena.

"A great performance from us from start-to-end again and I'm really proud of the way we played this weekend," said St. John's head coach Joe Tartamella. "We controlled a lot of aspects of the game and were able to turn them over and keep them at a low assist rate. I just thought we did a good job of playing with energy again."

In the annual Play4Kay game, both the Red Storm and Musketeers donned pink uniforms to honor former women's basketball legend Kay Yow and the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Additionally, the Johnnies welcomed 11 cancer survivors onto the court prior to tip-off where each were presented with an autographed pair of pink sneakers.

With the win, St. John's (14-10, 7-6 BIG EAST) has now won four-consecutive games on its home floor and the back-to-back victories keep the Red Storm in a fifth-place tie in the conference standings.

The 34-point drubbing, combined with the 38-point triumph on Friday, marked the first back-to-back 30-plus point victories since Jan. 1984 when the Johnnies defeated former BIG EAST foes Syracuse and Connecticut by 30 and 56, respectively.  

For the second-straight game, St. John's also set a new season-low for points allowed by holding the Musketeers (9-15, 2-11 BIG EAST) to just 36 points on just 14-of-45 (31.1%) shooting. Sunday also saw the Red Storm hold two-consecutive opponents under 40 points for the first time since the 1975-76 season where in only the second season of collegiate competition, the Johnnies held five-straight adversaries under the 40-point threshold.

Offensively, St. John's converted at a 46.8% clip, including a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe. After knocking down a season-high 11 from behind-the-arc on Friday, the Red Storm converted 5-of-17 from three this afternoon.  

Alisha Kebbe finished just one rebound shy of her second-career double-double outing as the sophomore recorded a game-high 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

Maya Singleton (12) and Akina Wellere (11) also reached double figures for the Johnnies. In addition, Singleton grabbed seven rebounds, dished out one assist, and grabbed a steal; while Wellere shot 4-for-5 from the field and added three assists.

The Musketeers were off to a hot start from the field early, converting 4-of-5 from the field, including a deep three, to put the visitors up 8-4 in the opening three minutes. From there, the Red Storm took control. St. John's erupted on a 22-0 run over a 10:15 span to turn an 8-4 deficit into a 26-8 lead at the three-minute mark of the second quarter.

Defense was the story during the run for the Johnnies, forcing Xavier into seven turnovers and converting them into seven points. 

St. John's capped off the first half by hitting 15-of-29 (51.7%) from the field and 3-of-7 (42.9%) from beyond the arc to build a 35-14 lead at the half.

On the defensive side, the Red Storm continued to suffocate the Musketeers by holding them to just six made field goals on 22 attempts (27.3%).

Kebbe and Wellere led the attack for the Johnnies in the first 20 minutes of play, scoring a combined 16 points.

Keeping up the pressure into the second half, St. John's forced two Xavier turnovers in the opening three minutes of play, and scored nine points during the same span to build a commanding, 44-18 lead.

The push at the beginning of the third quarter was highlighted by back-to-back buckets from Imani Littleton and a triple off the hands of Kebbe to continue to balanced attack.

Xavier put together its best comeback attempt in the middle of the third frame, stringing together a 6-0 spurt to cut the St. John's lead from 44-18 down to 20, but that was the lowest the deficit would fall as the Johnnies strung together a quick 4-0 burst to end the comeback attempt.

Putting the game to bed over the final 10 minutes of play, the Red Storm pieced together their best offensive quarter of the night by dropping 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field. For the second-consecutive night, all ten active players saw the floor for the Johnnies as the home side received 24 points from its bench.

St. John's will be back in action on Friday when the Johnnies go for the season sweep of Villanova. Tip-off, scheduled for 11:30 a.m., will take place at Jake Nevin Field House and can be seen on the BIG EAST Digital Network.


 

 

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