The rout was on inside Walsh Gym on Saturday as the St. John’s Red Storm commanded Seton Hall, 69-48.
The Pirates, who fell to 13-7 overall and 4-5 in conference play, were without post mainstay Bra’Shey Ali. The junior was nursing a shoulder injury, and the Pirates felt that by getting outrebounded 42-30. The Red Storm’s balance and firepower were too much, as St. John’s shut out The Hall in bench points, 31-0.
“We coached poorly and played poorly,” Pirates’ head coach Tony Bozzella said. “There is no ball movement. And when our leading scorer (Tabatha Richardson-Smith) goes 0-for-7 from the three-point line, it is what it is.” Bozzella’s team went 0-for-12 from beyond the arc, which was the first time the Pirates did not record a trey in a game this season.
Tied at nine apiece with 13:44 left to go in the first half, the Red Storm began to bring its perimeter shooting into the game. Danaejah Grant drilled a triple and Eugeneia McPherson followed with a jumper to make it a five-point game. A jumper by Jade Walker made it a 7-0 run, and the Red Storm would keep it that way until flexing its muscles near the end of the half.
Two 3-pointers by the Red Storm’s Briana Brown that were separated by just over a minute of play extended the lead to 16, and although senior forward Janee Johnson tried to inch the Pirates closer with 10 points in the first half, St. John’s carried in a 38-27 halftime lead.
Sophomore forward Tabatha Richardson-Smith scored 2 of her 9 points with a lay-in and Johnson followed with another bucket to cut The Hall’s deficit to nine just under three minutes into the second half. Then, a shot at a comeback turned to dust. The Red Storm held Seton Hall to just 3 points in the next seven minutes, going on a 12-3 run over that span. With the score at 52-34 after a lay-in by the Red Storm’s Keylantra Langley, it was just about all but over.
“There was no ball movement,” Bozzella said. “Without Bra’Shey (Ali), we had to go to the bench, and we had nothing there today.”
The Pirates were able to cut the deficit to 14 after a lay-in by junior guard Alexis Brown, who finished with 11 points, but St. John’s held the Pirates to just 4 points over the ensuing five minutes to keep any remaining shot of a comeback out of reach. The Red Storm led by as many as 22 with just under four minutes to play after a lay-in by Walker en route to the Johnnies’ conference-best ninth win in the league this season.
Junior point guard Ka-Deidre Simmons scored a game-high 16 points, but was held to just 6 in the first half as St. John’s focused on keeping her in check when they went on their surge. Simmons and Brown each struggled from the field, shooting 5-for-15 apiece in a game that saw the Pirates’ offense only have four players who even recorded points.
Seton Hall returns to action against 13-6 Marquette, who currently stands fifth in the Big East with a 4-4 record in league play.
“The key is rebounding, it’s simple as that,” Bozzella said of Wednesday’s match-up. Marquette leads the Big East in rebounding margin at +13.4 while the Pirates are at +5.8, which is third-best.
Wednesday’s game tips off inside the Al McGuire Center at 8 p.m.
John Fanta can be reached at email@example.com.