Red Storm win two over the weekend

Jade Walker had 16 points to lead St. Johns to victory over Butler on Friday. (Photo Credit:

Jade Walker had 16 points to lead St. John’s to victory over Butler on Friday. (Photo Credit:

Nick McCreven, Staff Writer

The St. John’s women’s basketball team played two home games over three days this past weekend, one on Friday at Carnesecca Arena and one on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Friday night’s matchup was against Big East rival Butler and the Red Storm picked up a 62-55 victory. Jade Walker and Aaliyah Lewis each contributed 16 points to go along with Lewis’ eight assists.The Johnnies turned the ball over only six times the entire game and racked up 10 steals as well, including three from junior Crystal Simmons.

Although SJU went 18 for 50 on field goal attempts while the Bulldogs went 18 for 41, the Red Storm went to the free throw line 28 times and made 21; this was the true difference-maker in the game.Coach Tartamella called the matchup, “a hard fought win for us.”

“Obviously a big one, because they all are. I thought the game was sort of lethargic through the middle part of the game,” he said. “I thought we did a great job to pace ourselves in the first quarter, where they scored and we were able to counteract.”

On Sunday, St. John’s hosted Xavier at MSG and took home another win, 64-55.“Madison Square Garden is the best arena in the United States,” Walker said postgame. “It’s a great tradition here at St. John’s, it’s a great feeling. Playing here isn’t like playing anywhere else.”

The starters played a big role in the win, having scored 54 of the team’s total 64 points. Sophomore Akina Wellere led the team in scoring with 17 points while going four of six from the free throw line.

“She’s been able to get to the line, she was 4-for-6, 6-for-11 from the field. She’s mixing it up now,” Tartamella said on Wellere. “She’s getting to the rim and she’s also able to knock down a three. She came in as a scorer. She can score from all over the place and her defense has really improved.”

Jade Walker scored 14 points and also contributed two blocks on the afternoon, hitting a clutch shot towards the end of the contest to seal the victory. Aaliyah Lewis had a productive game, adding nine points and seven assists. Junior Imani Littleton had a big game as she scored 12 and grabbed 11 rebounds while shooting 100 percent on six shots.

“A typical win for us throughout the last couple of weeks,” Tartamella said. “Quick pace, slow pace, it was kind of a grind. To be able to get a win, regardless of whatever the finishing score is, is important. I was really pleased with how we came into the game.”

The Johnnies did struggle with turnovers in the matchup, having given up 17 in total, but won the rebounding battle (38-28) and held Xavier to 39 percent from the field (20 of 51). The Red Storm made 24 of their 53 shot attempts to put them at a 45 percent mark on the day.

The pair of wins notches SJU to a 15-7 overall record and a 7-4 record in the Big East on the season. They look to take on two other in-conference foes this weekend, as they travel to Chicago to face DePaul on Friday and face Marquette on Sunday.