The St. John’s women’s basketball team will begin postseason play on Friday, taking on Xavier in the opening game of the BIG EAST Tournament at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Tip-off between the Red Storm and the Musketeers is set for 11 a.m. and will be streamed live on the BIG EAST Digital Network with announcers Pat O’Keefe, Kim Adams and sideline reporter Meghan Caffrey.
Friday will be the 15th all-time meeting between St. John’s and Xavier, with the Red Storm owning a 12-2 record. The matchup will also be the first of year between the two teams, as both regular-season contests were canceled due to COVID-19.
Dating back to the first BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Tournament in 1983, St. John’s (7-14 4-12 BIG EAST) owns a 30-32 all-time record in conference tournament games. The Johnnies have made 11 trips to the BIG EAST semifinals and have played in the conference title game five times. Four of those five championship game appearances resulted in league titles with the most recent coming in 2016 by way of a victory over Creighton.
After serving as the engine behind the Red Storm’s offense this season, Leilani Correa was named to the All-BIG EAST First Team. The sophomore guard became the 18th player in St. John’s history and the eighth under the direction of Head Coach Joe Tartamella to be named to the league’s top team. In addition to leading the Red Storm in scoring, Correa ranks fifth overall in the conference, averaging 18.0 points per contest. Through 20 games this year, the Manchester, N.J., native has finished in double figures on 15 occasions, eclipsing the 30-point plateau a BIG EAST-best five times. In addition to her ability to score the ball, Correa leads the Johnnies in steals, recording 1.9 thefts per game, good enough to rank ninth overall in the conference.
Unique Drake finished the regular season strong for St. John’s, reaching double figures in each of her last three appearances, highlighted by a career- best 22 points against Georgetown on Feb. 24. Over the Red Storm’s recent three-game stretch, the Columbia, S.C., native led her squad in scoring, netting 18.3 points per game on a 56 (22-of-39) percent shooting from the floor, including a 60 (6-of-10) percent mark from 3-point range.
Xavier (5-9, 2-8 BIG EAST) wrapped up the regular season with a 58-48 victory over Georgetown on Feb. 28. In the win over the Hoyas, senior forward A’riana Gray posted her 28th career double-double, finishing with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Gray leads the way for Xavier in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 12.9 points and 6.7 boards per game. Nia Clark is the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 11.8 points per game while Kae Satterfield enters postseason play with a 10.0 scoring average.
The winner of Friday’s first round will advance to the quarterfinals and take on the no. 1 seed Connecticut on Saturday at noon. The matchup will be broadcast live on FS1.