Leilani Correa scored more points than any St. John’s player in the last 25 years, but her historic performance wasn’t enough, as a late Red Storm run fell short against Delaware, 93-88, on Thursday afternoon at the Bob Carpenter Center.
Correa recorded a career-high 35 points against the Blue Hens on 12-of-24 shooting from the floor, knocking down three of her six attempts from beyond the arc. The sophomore guard also converted on eight of her 10 tries from the free throw line.
With 35 points against the Blue Hens, Correa has now eclipsed the 30-point mark four times over her St. John’s career. In addition to her stellar scoring performance, the Manchester, N.J., native led the Johnnies in steals with four.
Making her season debut after missing the first three games of the year, Qadashah Hoppie exploded for 23 points. The senior from Staten Island converted on seven of her 18 attempts from the floor, knocking down all six of her tries from the charity stripe. Hoppie also dished out four assists and grabbed two steals on the afternoon.
Kadaja Bailey and Unique Drake finished just shy of double figures, recording nine points apiece. Bailey also tied Rayven Peeples with a team-high five rebounds.
Delaware jumped out to an early 4-0 lead before St. John’s used five unanswered points to pull ahead by one, 5-4. The Johnnies lead was short lived, as the Blue Hens made a 9-1 run to take a seven-point advantage, 13-6, midway through the opening quarter. Peeples and Hoppie converted on a combined four shots from the charity stripe to get back within three, 13-10, with a little over four minutes remaining in the first frame.
The Blue Hens defense locked in, holding the Johnnies without a point over the next 3:35. With 25 seconds remaining in the quarter, and Delaware leading, 17-10, Correa snapped the Johnnies’ scoreless drought as she sank a triple to put St. John’s back within four. The home team closed out the first 10 minutes of action with a pair of free throws to hold a 19-13 lead.
Delaware grew its advantage to 11 in the opening minutes of the second stanza, 26-15. The Red Storm responded, as Hoppie made a drive to the glass to ignite a 6-0 run for the Johnnies and dwindle the Blue Hens’ lead down to five, 26-21.
Delaware built its advantage back up to nine, 32-23, before the Johnnies fired off another six unanswered points.
With 1:36 remaining in the second quarter, and the Blue Hens ahead by five, 36-31, Hoppie pieced together a 5-0 run of her own to knot the game at 36 heading into the locker room.
Coming out of the intermission, Hoppie continued to build upon her offensive surge, knocking down a triple to make it an 8-0 run. With Hoppie’s three, St. John’s took its first lead since the opening frame, 39-36.
The two teams traded blows over the next few minutes with St. John’s leading by four, 46-42, and just under six minutes remaining in the third. The Johnnies then used a 12-5 run to balloon their lead to 11, 58-47.
The Blue Hens continued to battle over the remainder of the quarter, cutting into the Johnnies’ lead, and making it a two-point game, 59-57, entering the final 10 minutes of action.
Hoppie drew a foul in the early seconds of the final quarter. The Staten Island product, who had not missed a shot from the free-throw line all day, continued her consistency going 2-for-2 from the charity stripe.
The Blue Hens outscored St. John’s, 20-5, over the next few minutes to regain the lead, 77-66, with under five minutes remaining in regulation.
St. John’s continued to fight until the final buzzer, chipping away at Delaware’s lead to get back within four, 92-88, with 10 seconds remaining. That was as close as the Johnnies would get, as the clock ran out to cement the home-team’s victory.
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