St. John’s gets back on track versus UC Irvine


Danaejah Grant put on a dominant display vs. UC Irvine, scoring 28 points on 10-of-13 shooting (Photo: Athletic Communications)

Anna Kulesa, Staff Writer

The St. John’s women’s basketball team finished their West Coast trip with an 85-63 win against UC Irvine Sunday night in the Red Storm’s first win of the season.

Three different Red Storm (1-1) players scored in double figures against the Anteaters.

Senior Danaejah Grant scored 28 points and made 10 out of 13 shots. Junior Jade Walker put up 15 points making seven of eight shots. Freshman Akina Wellere scored 11 points and made four of eight shots. The 85 points was the most points the Red Storm have put up since Feb. 2014, when they scored 85 points against Providence.

Junior Aaleigh Lewis led on the defensive side by logging four steals and three rebounds. Overall, the women forced 18 UC Irvine turnovers and were 41-32 in rebounds. Lewis also helped out on offense scoring seven points and had six assists. Senior Aliyyah Handford had six assists and eight points, tying Kia Wright for fifth place on the St. John’s all time scoring list with 1,536 points. Ten of the eleven St. John’s players scored on Sunday night.

The Red Storm started the game off strong with Grant, scoring the first points of the game with a layup to help the team put up an 11 point lead in the last few minutes of the first quarter. UC Irvine was able to lessen the lead to five points at the end of the first. St. John’s came out strong again in the second quarter, going on an 8-1 run. The women ended the first half with a 44-31 lead. The Red Storm led 13-7 in turnovers and had seven steals at the end of the first half.

Grant continued her impressive game at the beginning of the second half, sinking two three pointers to give St. John’s a 17-point lead. At the end of the third quarter, Walker scored seven straight points to extend the lead to 66-47. The Red Storm’s lead reached 27 in the fourth quarter before finishing the game with a final score of 85-65.

Head Coach Joe Tartamella was happy with his team’s play on Sunday, “This was a great effort in a game that was an important bounce back from Friday night. I was pleased with our improvements in most areas of the game and it was a great performance by our team. We are all looking forward to heading back to the East Coast and preparing for another difficult opponent in Rutgers. I was happy to see all 11 of our players have an opportunity to contribute tonight, which will be a very important moving through the season.”

The Red Storm will travel to New Jersey to face Rutgers on Thursday, Nov. 19 at 7.