Despite a 21-point performance from senior guard Qadashah Hoppie, the UMass Minutewomen used a buzzer-beating layup to defeat the Johnnies, 63-61, on Sunday afternoon.
Hoppie reached the 20-point plateau for the second-straight game, draining five shots from beyond the arc. The Staten Island native also grabbed five rebounds to go along with a team-high three steals.
Coming off a 35- point performance at Delaware on Thursday, Leilani Correa tallied 16 points on the afternoon. Correa has now reached double figures in all five games this season. The Manchester, N.J., native also recorded four rebounds, three assists and a steal for the Red Storm.
Kadaja Bailey rounded out the Johnnies that finished in double figures with 10 points. In addition, the junior guard tied Raven Farley with a team-high eight rebounds. Farley also chipped in seven points to go along with two thefts.
The Johnnies opened the game on an offensive tear, converting on their first four attempts to take an early 10-2 lead. The Red Storm continued to control the opening frame, holding UMass to just two points over the next two minutes to lead, 18-4, with six minutes remaining in the frame.
The Minutewomen began to cut into St. John’s lead down the stretch, trimming its deficit down to six, 24-17, following the first quarter.
Hoppie was untouchable through the opening 10 minutes of action, turning in 14 points on a 5-of-6 shooting from the floor, including a 4-of-5 mark from distance.
The Minutewomen continued to chip away St. John’s lead, opening up the second stanza on an 8-0 run to pull ahead by one, 25-24, for their first lead of the game.
Bailey made a drive through traffic to put St. John’s back on top, 26-25, with 5:39 remaining in the half. The two programs continued to battle back-and-forth, as the remainder of the quarter saw two ties and three lead changes, with the Johnnies holding a two-point advantage, 35-33, at the intermission.
Coming out of the break, Correa converted on jumper to make it a two-possession game, 37-33, in favor of the Johnnies. The Minutewomen used a free throw and a layup to get back within one, 37-36, before the Johnnies rattled off a 12-2 run, ballooning their lead to 11, 49-38.
Over the final two minutes of the third quarter, UMass managed to outscore the Johnnies, 7-2, to get back within single digits, 51-45, after 30 minutes of action.
UMass opened up the final 10 minutes of regulation with back-to-back layups to make it a one-possession game, 51-49. The two-teams traded blows over the next few minutes of the tightly-contested matchup, and with 2:23 left on the clock, the Minutewomen sank a triple to regain the lead, 59-57.
With just under two minutes to play, Bailey drew a foul to take a trip to the charity stripe. The Long Beach native converted on a pair of crucial free throws to knot the game at 59. The Minutewomen responded seconds later to regain the lead, 61-59. With 35 ticks left on the clock, Bailey answered back for the Johnnies with a layup of her own to tie the game at 61, before the Minutewomen drained a buzzer-beating shot to seal the victory.
The Red Storm will return to action on Wednesday, when the team travels to Milwaukee for a showdown with BIG EAST foe Marquette. The two programs are scheduled to tip off at 3 p.m. ET on FloHoops.
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