March 3, 2018
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QUEENS, N.Y. - After finishing the regular season in the top half of the standings for the sixth-straight year under Head Coach Joe Tartamella, St. John’s will invade The Windy City this weekend for the BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Tournament at DePaul’s Wintrust Arena. The fifth seed in the tournament after finishing the regular season with a 9-9 record in league action, the Johnnies will take on fourth-seeded Creighton in Sunday’s quarterfinal round.
Sunday’s contest with Creighton will be live on FS2 at 3:30 p.m. with LaChina Robinson and Lisa Byington on the call.
Dating back to the first BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Tournament in 1983, the Red Storm owns a 28-29 all-time record in conference tournament games. The Johnnies are one of six teams to receive a bye to the quarterfinals, marking the 26th time in program history the Red Storm have reached that round.
St. John’s has also made 10 trips to the conference semifinals and has played in the conference title game five times. Four of those five championship game appearances resulted in conference titles with the most recent coming in 2016 by way of a victory over the Bluejays.
The Johnnies look to begin their 2018 postseason run with a solid mixture of youth and experience, including three players that earned recognition from the BIG EAST at the conclusion of the regular season: Qadashah Hoppie, Tiana England and Maya Singleton.
Hoppie was named the BIG EAST Freshman of the Year after leading all rookies with 11.1 points-per-game during conference play. The Staten Island native became the first St. John’s player to win the award since current assistant coach Da’Shena Stevens earned the honor in 2008-09.
England was also recognized as one of the league’s top rookies, earning unanimous selection to the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team.
The conference’s leading rebounder at 11.1 per game, Singleton earned All-BIG EAST Second Team accolades after recording a team-best 16 double-doubles, a total that ranked second in the league.
During conference play, the Johnnies led all teams in scoring defense (59.8 ppg), field goal defense (.399), and blocked shots (4.2 per game). St. John’s ranks second in rebounding defense (33.4), third in rebounding margin (+2.2), and third in turnover margin (+1.39). The Red Storm also finished with a +3.9 scoring margin, good for fourth-best during BIG EAST action.
Sunday’s contest will be the 16th all-time meeting between St. John’s and Creighton with the Red Storm holding an 8-7 advantage. The series has been even as of late, with the two teams splitting their last six meetings. The first of those six meetings saw the Red Storm claim its first conference crown in three decades, as the Johnnies downed the Bluejays in the championship game of the 2016 BIG EAST Tournament.
In their last matchup, the Bluejays limited the Johnnies to their lowest scoring effort of the season with a 53-39 victory. Andrayah Adams led the Johnnies with nine points in addition to grabbing five rebounds and dishing out an assist
Creighton enters Sunday’s quarterfinal matchup having lost two of its last three outings. Most recently, the Bluejays fell to third-seeded Villanova, 55-48, on Sunday in the team’s last regular season matchup at Jake Nevin Field House.
Sydney Lamberty led Creighton with a double-double, recording a team-high 20 points and 10 rebounds. It was a quiet offensive performance for the Bluejays’ leading scorer, Audrey Faber, who collected just seven points in the team’s final outing. Faber currently leads Creighton averaging 15.0 points per game, hitting 41.8 percent of her chances from the field.
At the close of the regular season, the Bluejays lead the league in free throw percentage, converting at 76.6 percent clip. In conference play, Creighton ranks second in assists (16.4) and defensive rebounding (26.4). In addition, the Bluejays are top three in scoring offense (66.9), and blocked shots (3.2) during league action.
The winner of Sunday’s quarterfinal will next be in action on Monday at 4 p.m.