Sophomore guard Monique McLean exploded offensively for a career-high 32 points and senior point guard Kia Wright returned to the lineup and added 17 points and seven assists to lead the St. John’s women’s basketball team over Stony Brook, 85-74, Saturday night at University Arena.
McLean, whose previous career-high was 26 points earlier this year against Monmouth (Dec. 2), finished 10-for-18 from the field and made 10 free throws. She had a career-night on both ends of the floor, as she also came up with a personal best six steals to go with seven rebounds in 38 minutes.
It was the first 30-point performance by a Red Storm player this year and McLean’s third 20+ point effort this year.
Wright, meanwhile, who missed six-straight games in December due to a sports hernia injury, was the constant playmaker for St. John’s and filled the stat sheet with 17 points, seven assists, two steals and five rebounds.
St. John’s (4-8) led by 10 points midway through the first half after McLean hit a jumper to put the Red Storm ahead, 23-13. The host Seawolves, on the strength of 16 first-half points from Jessica Smith, ended the first half of a 21-9 run to take a 34-32 lead at the intermission.
Tiina Sten assisted on an Angel Tate layup to begin the second half and tie the score at 34, but Stony Brook (4-8) held its ground and eventually enjoyed its largest lead of the game at 44-39 with 15:30 left to play.
St. John’s responded with a 7-0 run, as McLean drained a 3-pointer, Wright finished a layup and assisted on another to Tate to give the Red Storm a 46-44 lead. Stony Brook called a timeout with 14:14 to play, and fought back to reclaim the lead, 53-52, on a 3-pointer by Kelly Watson at the 11-minute mark.
It would turn out to be the Seawolves’ final lead of the game, however, as Sten hit back-to-back jumpers over the next minute to put St. John’s back in control.
The Red Storm held onto its slim lead and sealed the game when McLean got an offensive rebound and finished the ensuing layup, Wright converted a slashing drive down the right side of the lane and Joy McCorvey hit a layup in succession with less than five minutes to play.
Down the stretch, McLean was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line and Nikki Jo Rotolo put the finishing touches on the game with two late layups to give St. John’s the victory.
McCorvey turned in another hustling all-around effort, netting eight points and hauling down eight rebounds, while Sten extended her double-digit scoring streak to 10 games with 10 points.
Tate also had a solid effort with seven points.
St. John’s returns to Carnesecca Arena Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007, when it hosts Rutgers in a BIG EAST matchup at 7 p.m.