Johnnies Advance to Quarterfinals of Big East Tourney

The St. John’s women’s basketball team avenged its regular season loss against Seton Hall by defeating the Pirates 51-45 in the second round of the Big East Tournament.

“A big win for our program on many levels to win a game that I thought we really gutted out again the way that we did against DePaul,” St. John’s head coach Joe Tartamella told reporters after the game.

Shenneika Smith,who was recently named to the All-Big East First Team, lifted the Red Storm (18-11, 11-5) midway in the first half as she scored 11 points in the first ten minutes to give her team a 13-11 edge.

Amber Thompson followed up on her standout performance against DePaul, as she finished the game with 14 points and 11 rebounds in 35 minutes of play coming off the bench.

Thompson built on the momentum established by Smith and notched 7 points and 4 boards in the final ten minutes of the half, including the final field goal with two minutes remaining.

The Johnnies went into the half with a 24-18 lead.

Seton Hall gradually chipped away at the Red Storm’s lead, going on a 10-3 run to cut the lead to one with ten minutes remaining. When a foul was called against Smith, the Pirates made both free throws to take its first lead since midway through the first half.

However, that would be the last time Seton Hall would find itself ahead.

Briana Brown stole momentum from the Pirates only seconds after taking the lead as she sank a shot from the perimeter to give St. John’s a two-point advantage.

“I told Briana Brown that I’ve always felt that she was the most improved player,” Tartamella told reporters. “Not only on the team but in this league and I wanted her to play that way.”

Brown and Thompson put in another pair of baskets and Smith’s 3-pointer forced Seton Hall to foul in the final moments of play. Although Smith missed both of her shots from the line, Brown was able to get the rebound and end the game.

“I am pleased with my whole team, honestly,” Brown told reporters. “We didn’t have a great first half but our team pulled it out.”

St. John’s will play Louisville in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament on Sunday at noon.