By Zach Gewelb
The St. John’s women’s basketball team continues to roll, earning its fifth straight victory by dispatching Villanova, 70-64, Sunday afternoon at Carnesecca Arena.
The Red Storm (12-7, 5-3 Big East) outscored their Big East opponent in every quarter to secure the victory.
“Great team win for us. I’m proud of how we played,” St. John’s head coach Joe Tartamella said. “Just a great win for us, and probably one of the bigger ones we’ve had this year.”
Senior forward Maya Singleton continued her strong season, tallying 16 points and 11 rebounds to record her 13th double-double of the season.
Alisha Kebbe (16 points), Tiana England (12 points) and Andrayah Adams (10 points) also eclipsed double figures to help St. John’s down Villanova (14-3, 4-3 Big East).
The Red Storm offense played one of its best games of the season against the Wildcats, known for being a strong defensive squad. The Johnnies shot lights out from the field (49 percent) and converted 6 of 11 shots from three-point range. Their 70 points scored mark the second-most Villanova has given up all season.
Neither team was able to pull ahead in the first quarter, but St. John’s would take the lead at the end of the frame when Akina Wellere drilled a three as the buzzer sounded to send the Johnnies into the second quarter with a 14-12 advantage.
The game remained close throughout the second quarter, but St. John’s once again finished the frame strong scoring six of the last eight points to take a 29-25 lead into halftime.
Singleton came up big in the first half, scoring 10 of her 16 points. She had some help early in the third quarter, though, when St. John’s came out of the break hot. The Johnnies came up with two three-pointers and a layup to build a 10-point lead just three minutes into the quarter. Their lead would grow to 11 later in the frame, but Villanova clawed back into the game, cutting the deficit to five heading into the fourth quarter.
St. John’s maintained the lead early in the fourth, but the Wildcats tied the game at 54-54 midway through the period. The Johnnies went on a 6-0 run and never looked back, making clutch free throws in the waning moments to secure the win.
After the game, Tartamella said he was proud of his team’s effort against a tough opponent.
“The way that we came out today, I thought we did a really great job throughout the game in controlling” things, he said. “It’s fun to watch when you can watch execution of the game plan and being able to execute down the stretch by making big shots and making plays.”
The Red Storm will look to keep its five-game winning streak alive when the team returns to the court to take on Seton Hall on the road Sunday afternoon. Opening tip is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe