St. John's races past Creighton in late going for Big East title - Mar 10, 2016
Scoring was hard to come by but the results were still delightful for St. John's as it ended a 28-year Big East championship drought with Tuesday's 50-37 title game victory over Creighton. The No. 4 seed Red Storm (23-9) are also bound for the NCAA Division I tournament - the program's 10th - by clinching the league's automatic berth. Aaliyah Lewis (5'5''-PG) scored 14 points and Aliyyah Handford (5'9''-G) - the tourney's most outstanding player - added 11 for St. John's in the Big East finale at DePaul's McGrath-Phillips Arena. Audrey Faber (6'2''-F) collected 12 points and MC McGrory (5'8''-G) added 11 for the seventh seed Bluejays (17-17), who hoped for one more upset after beating No. 2 Villanova and No. 3 Seton Hall en route to their first Big East tourney championship game. The tournament title was St. John's fourth overall and first since 1988. The Red Storm also won in 1983 and 1984 and appeared in the 2014 championship, losing to DePaul. St. John's broke a 28-28 tie with a 9-2 run over the first five minutes of the fourth quarter to open a 37-30 lead. The Red Storm lead grew to 10 with less than three minutes to play as two Jade Walker (6'1''-F) free throws started to put the game out of reach. Creighton, meanwhile, managed just one field goal over nine minutes while struggling against an aggressive St. John's defense. Scoring was limited in the early going for teams playing in their combined seventh game in four days. St. John's led 11-10 after one quarter and 15-10 with 5:24 left in the second quarter as shooting percentages hovered in the mid- to high 20s. The Red Storm opened a six-point lead after a Handford 3-pointer. But Lauren Works (5'7''-G) hit a bucket and two free throws while McGrory hit two more free throws in the final 1:51 to cut St. John's lead to 21-20 by halftime. Faber's 3-pointer to open the third quarter gave Creighton a 23-21 lead but neither team broke out of single digit scoring in the period as the Bluejays and Red Storm deadlocked 28-28 entering the final 10 minutes. Creighton managed just 24.5 percent (13-of-53) from the field while St. John's was 17-of-51 (33.3 percent). St. John's three-game Big East sweep included Monday's 75-66 semifinal win over No. 1 seed and two-time tournament champion DePaul. The Bluejays and Red Storm had split regular season meetings with road wins, including Creighton's 64-57 victory at St. John's on Feb. 28. The Big East appears likely to have at least three representatives when the NCAA Division I tournament field is announced on Monday. In addition to St. John's, No. 18 DePaul (25-8) and Seton Hall (23-8) are the other post-season contenders. Still others could be candidates for the Women's National Invitation Tournament.
Courtesy of BigEast
Big East Tournament Final: St. John's - Creighton 50-37 Big East Tournament Semifinals: St. John's - DePaul 75-66 Creighton - Seton Hall 77-56
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