Women’s basketball opens with win over William & Mary

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Aaliyah Lewis led St. John's with six steals. (Photo Credit: RedStormSports.com)

It was a great start to the season for the St. John’s University women’s basketball team, taking an early lead and never looking back en route to a 73-57 victory against William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

The Red Storm took the lead for good with six minutes to play in the first quarter after breaking a tie at six. A 24-8 run followed, effectively putting the game out of reach before the half. Coach Joe Tartamella dialed up the defensive intensity to start the season, holding the Tribe to 25 percent shooting in the fourth quarter and 33 percent shooting for the game.

It seems that Tartamella will use a similar formula this season to try to replicate last season’s success, forcing 18 turnovers and out-rebounding William and Mary by three while using 11 players in his rotation.

“I was really happy with our effort this afternoon. I thought we had two really good spurts that opened the game up and allowed us to take control,” Tartamella said. “I also thought we did a good job scoring off of turnovers and we got 30 points off the bench, which is a big lift for us. I’m really proud of our effort and of this team and we will get ready for next week.”

Three Red Storm players finished in double figures in scoring. As a team they shot nearly 57 percent from the field, utilizing their stellar forwards inside to take control of the game. Jade Walker led all scorers with 18 points and seven rebounds.

Two St. John’s players made their first career starts. Freshman guard Alisha Kebbe got the nod, but scored two points and played only 13 minutes. Sophomore guard Akina Wellere started as well, dropping 12 points and grabbing five rebounds in 25 minutes.

Three Stars of the Game

Jade Walker- The senior figures to be the team’s biggest inside threat, and she proved it in the very first game with stat-sheet stuffer: 18 points, seven rebounds and four blocks.

Aaliyah Lewis- The Red Storm will look to her for leadership, and she provided by playing nearly the full game and leading the defensive charge with a team-high six steals.

Crystal Simmons- She didn’t see much time last year, but Simmons might be the best long-range shooter on the team. She shot 50 percent from three and will give defenses something to worry about from deep as the season progresses.