The St. John’s women’s basketball teams’ hopes of a fourth Big East championship came to a halt Tuesday night losing to top seeded DePaul, 65-57.
“Obviously we’re disappointed to not be able to come away with a win,” St. John’s head coach Joe Tartamella told reporters. “DePaul did a great job, and congratulations to them and Coach Bruno.”
The Red Storm’s (22-10) defense needed to be at their best to compete against the Blue Demons high-powered offense which led the Big East in points per game (84.0), scoring margin (plus 13.1) and field goal percentage (.452). St. John’s held DePaul to just 65 points, shooting 41.4 percent from the field.
“We knew we were going to have a battle,” Tartamella said. “If you told me that we’d hold them to 65 points and that we’d hit eight threes and come away with a loss, I’d probably tell you differently.”
St. John’s was a threat from behind the arc shooting 57.1 percent but wasn’t very efficient from the free throw line, shooting just 50 percent. DePaul (27-6) did a great job containing sophomore guard and All-Big East first teamer Aliyyah Handford, holding her to just 13 points on 5-of-15 shooting. Junior forward Amber Thompson has been dominating in the paint this season but failed to score a point in the contest and came away with just 4 rebounds.
After taking a 30-29 lead in the final minute of the first half, DePaul never relinquished its lead eventually leading to the program’s first Big East tournament title. Despite putting up a subpar effort on offense the Blue Demons managed to have four players finish with double-digit scoring.
DePaul was led by junior guard and All-Big East team recipient Brittany Hrynko who filled the stat sheet with a game-high 15 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Sophomore guard Megan Podkowa came away with 12 points and a game-high 9 rebounds. Senior forward and Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player Jasmine Penny finished with 11 points and 3 rebounds.
The Red Storm held a 3-0 record in Big East tournament finals prior to Monday night, their last title coming in 1988. Despite the loss St. John’s has had a pretty impressive season where they were ranked No. 22 in the nation while breaking the conference record for most consecutive wins against Big East opponents with 11.
“I’m so happy for these young ladies and how they played,” Tartamella said. “Our season is not over, is what I told them in the locker room.”
St. John’s can only sit and wait until Selection Monday to see if they’ve earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament. When asked about their chances Tartamella added, “I think we’ve got a credible resume as we move into selection.”