SJU women end season in Ann Arbor

Aaliyah Lewis finished her St. John’s career as the program’s all-time leader in games played. (Photo:

Derrell Bouknight, Assistant Sports Editor

After leading Michigan by one at halftime of last Thursday night’s Sweet 16 game, the St. John’s women’s basketball team managed just 10 points in the second half of play en route to a 60-40 loss that ended their season.

Playing in the WNIT Round of 16 for the fourth time in program history, the Red Storm took a quick 5-0 lead in the early stages of the opening quarter. After scoring their first bucket soon thereafter and trading baskets with St. John’s (22-12), Michigan trailed 14-10 heading into the second.

The Wolverines took their first lead of the game, 24-23, midway through the second quarter following a 6-0 run. A layup from Aaliyah Lewis was countered by a Michigan jump shot. Junior forward Maya Singleton converted another layup that preceded Akina Wellere’s made three-pointer, giving St. John’s a 30-26 advantage. In the closing moments of the half, Michigan hit three free throws to cut the deficit to one, 30-29, going into the break.

With the game tied at 34 several minutes into the third quarter, the Wolverines scored four quick points to go up 38-34. Following a layup from Lewis just over halfway into the quarter, Michigan again went to a run, scoring five consecutive points to close the quarter with a seven point lead, 43-36.

The Wolverines saved their biggest run for the final 10 minutes of play. After a layup by Jade Walker cut the Michigan lead to five, Michigan responded with a 12-0 run that eliminated nearly five minutes off the clock. A layup from Crystal Simmons ended the unanswered Michigan run with 4:10 remaining, but a 5-0 run to close out the final frame put the Wolverines ahead for good, ending St. John’s season with a 20-point loss in Ann Arbor.

“I’m really proud of our players for the season they were able to put together and certainly happy that our seniors were able to go out playing in the postseason,” Head Coach Joe Tartamella said to “I thought we did a terrific job throughout the first half and struggled mightily in the second. Certainly we are disappointed with the outcome, but we are proud of our team’s accomplishments this season.”

Michigan (25-9) was led by center Hallie Thome, who led all scorers with 19 points to go along with six rebounds. Guard Katelynn Flaherty followed with 17 points and four assists. For the game, the Wolverines shot 15-19 from the charity stripe. The Red Storm shot 1-4.

Lewis, who became the program’s leader in games played with 134 on Thursday, scored five points with four rebounds and four assists. Jade Walker led St. John’s in scoring with 10 points in 33 minutes before fouling out. Singleton, who also fouled out after 26 minutes, collected 12 boards and blocked five shots to add to her six points. Alisha Kebbe added nine points, six rebounds and three assists.