The St. John’s Women’s Basketball team had a tough time against the always tough Villanova University program falling by a score of 74-65 in BIG EAST Conference play at Carnesseca Arena.
Leading the way for the Red Storm was Leilani Correa who had 21 points, which was followed by Raven Farley who had 12 points. Unique Drake fell just shy of double-digits, tallying nine points to go along with two rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Rayven Peeples and Kadaja Bailey each pulled down six boards apiece for the Johnnies.
Villanova had four players finish in double-figure scoring as Maddy Siegrist led Villanova with 19 points and 15 boards. Sara Mortensen was able to record her first career double-double with 13 points along with a career-high 10 boards. Brianna Herlihy recorded 13 points and Lior Garzon tallied a career-high 12 points.
The Wildcats as always were impressive with their shooting performance going 30-of-69 from the field for 43.5 percent and 11-of-30 from three. The 11 made three-point attempts was a season high for Villanova.
There is always a tough test whenever St. John’s Battles Villanova, as the Wildcats have a 10-4 record over the Red Storm over the last 14 games, as the Wild Cats also holding a 42-28 record in the all-time series between these two rivals.
St. John’s was able to take an early 12-5 lead in the game, led by six points by Farley, who was able to get her squad going early with some tremendous low post moves in the First Quarter of play.
Villanova was able to tie things up at 12 when the First Quarter came to and end. The Wildcats started to open things up some more and build their way to a 26-21 lead to end the Second Quarter thanks to some great shooting by Mortensen.
St. John’s would go into the locker room trailing at the half by a score of 33-28, and started to storm back thanks to some fine shooting by Correa, who had a strong layup around the 7:48 mark to make the game 40-30.
The Wildcats regained the momentum in the Third Quarter when they took a 16-5 run, thanks to the scoring abilities by Siegrist and Lior Garzon who had 12 points each at the time.
It was a tremendous fight till the end as the Red Storm had the lead by Villanova cut to 10 points with about 30 minutes left in the game. Around this point Freshman Sara Zabrecky shot her first Collegiate points for the program, connecting on a beauty fake pump move from beyond the arch which made the score 57-47 with about 8:59 left in the game.
St. John’s had continued to attempt to cut the Villanova lead, but in the end the scoring by the Wildcats had throughout the game, was enough to get them their first ever BIG EAST Conference victory.
Up next for the Red Storm the ladies will be hitting the road to take on the University of Massachusetts in Non Conference action on Sunday, December 13. The game between the Red Storm and the Minutewomen is set for 2:00 p.m.
“Obviously I am not too pleased with how we played today. I thought Villanova did a nice job of playing their style and I thought we looked tired and fatigued through the game. We didn’t really follow what we had tried to accomplish. I thought we were pretty good early and then got deflated a little bit especially from an energy standpoint and I give Villanova credit, they made 11 3-pointers and they hadn’t shot the ball well coming into the game. We tried to do some things to influence their ability to put [3-pointers] up and they took 30 threes which they hadn’t really done either and made 11, while we only made five and that is a big difference in a game. I am certainly pleased that we fought back and didn’t give up towards the end, but we just didn’t do enough today.”
On the rebounding disadvantage…
“It was just effort. They went harder after the ball and we didn’t.”
On what he liked defensively…
“I thought we did a good job having gone through a lot and making an adjustment based on the players that we had available today from what we had prepared for. We played pretty well in the zone. I thought we got hurt in transition which is a joke, in my view, for how we are supposed to play. Credit to them for running by us, though, they looked like the team that had three days off and not a team that played Friday. I thought we did some good stuff [defensively] we knew that would probably hurt our rebounding a little bit. I was pleased with the way that we played towards the end in trying to get steals and deflections. Sara [Zabrecky] came in and was able to get some good minutes, so I was pleased with those things. We need some better performances though from players who have been here and I have got to do a better job of getting us ready to play. So, we have got to move on, play more games, get our legs under us, and prepare for what now becomes league play earlier than ever.”
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