Handford’s 27 lead Red Storm to 4-0 start

St. John’s finished off their three game home stretch by taking town Quinnipiac 76-66 Wednesday night.  Sophomore Aliyyah Handford led the way with another great performance by recording her team high third double-double of the season.

The Red Storm (4-0) defense throughout the game proved to be the difference maker in their fourth straight win to start the season.  With Quinnipiac (1-3) coming into Wednesday’s game averaging 85.3 points per game, St. John’s had no problem holding their opponents high powered offense to 38.7% from the field and 14.3% from behind the arc.

“I thought we did a great job specifically in the first half holding them to 27 [points],” head coach Joe Tartamella said.  “I’m very proud of our young ladies, everybody gave us crucial minutes.”

Handford added another great performance to her already impressive start to the season with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists.  This was Handford’s first game since being named last week’s Big East Weekly Honor Roll.

“Just hard work,” Handford said of her fast start. “Practice and helping my teammates out in any way possible.”

Junior forward Amber Thompson recorded the Red Storm’s second double-double of the night finishing with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Senior guard Briana Brown tallied a season-high 16 points and 8 rebounds.

“Just an emphasis on sharing the basketball,” added Tartamella.  “We’re getting better at sharing the ball and we have a chance to be very unified on the floor and I think that’s something that’s coming to the forefront here.”

Team captain Briana Brown emphasized sticking to the game plan by adding, “We really just dug down and did what we were supposed to do.  We stuck to the game plan.  I knew if we did that we would be fine.”

Brown has had the challenge of playing with a lot of underclassman this season, but as St. John’s continues their fast start, she has only her young teammates to thank.

“I’m happy to have these young ladies around me,” said Brown.  “I really think they’re very mature.  It makes my captain’s job a lot easier.”

Freshman wing Jade Walker saw her first minutes of action this season, playing three minutes and recording her first two points of her collegiate career.  The addition of Walker will be a big part of St. John’s success this upcoming season.

“Jade Walker is going to be a major part of our program,” Tartamella said.  “I think people got a little glimpse and that’s something that I’m excited about.”

The Red Storm will try to keep the momentum going by heading on the road to face Florida Tuesday night at 7 p.m.