Red Storm lose 23 point lead and fall to Marquette

The St. John’s women’s basketball team watched a 23-pont lead slip away Wednesday night at Carnesecca Arena losing to Big East opponent Marquette 74-61.

St. John’s (19-8, 12-4) came out of the gate red hot shooting 52.0% from the field in the first half and had a 35-12 lead over Marquette (19-8, 10-6) at the 9:27 mark.  The Golden Eagles chipped away throughout the game and took a 60-59 lead with 4:58 remaining in the contest.  Marquette outscored the Red Storm 14-2 in the final minutes to come away with the victory.

“We didn’t do the little things that we needed to do to win the game,” St. John’s head coach Joe Tartamella said.  “I was a little disappointed defensively to give up 39 points in the second half.”

St. John’s sophomore guard Aliyyah Handford finished with a team-high 21 points along with 3 rebounds and 2 assists.  Sophomore guard Danaejah Grant provided key minutes off the bench tallying 15 points and 4 rebounds.

The Red Storm’s offense hit a brick wall in the second half putting up just 19 points on 21.9% shooting.  Marquette came into this game with a plus 14.3 rebounding margin which tops the nation and Wednesday night was no different.  The Golden Eagles out rebounded St. John’s 45-33 which led to 18 second chance points.  Marquette also found a way to get to the charity stripe scoring 27 points on 84.4% free throw shooting.

“I just felt like in the second half we didn’t have that fire,” Grant said.  “We made some key mistakes in the second half as far as turnovers and not being able to get stops and they were able to take advantage of it.”

St. John’s senior guard Eugeneia McPherson left the game in the first minute of play after suffering a leg injury on a hard foul.  McPherson made both of her free throws before leaving the game and did not return.

“I thought we played well when she went down,” Tartamella said.  “We’re deep, we feel like we got enough players to be able to play but obviously losing her (McPherson) during the game, we did lose that piece up front.”

The Red Storm has been inconsistent with their play over the past few games and with the Big East Tournament just around the corner there might be a cause for concern.

“I think we just have to practice and work hard,” Handford said.  “We just got to get at it and come up with a win.”

St. John’s will look to turn it around fast when they host Big East opponent DePaul Saturday March 1st at 1:00 p.m. at Carnesecca arena.  The winner will walk away atop the Big East standings.