St. John’s basketball hangs tough with shorthanded No. 9 UConn

St. John's basketball guard Unique Drake (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball guard Unique Drake (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /

The St. John’s basketball team hung tough with the No. 9 UConn Huskies in Queens. 

It was a measuring stick game for the St. John’s basketball team against the potent No. 9 UConn Huskies (11-4, 6-0 Big East) and the Johnnies, despite its struggles this season, hung tough with the National Championship contenders.

Granted, UConn was without arguably its three best players; Paige Bueckers (knee), Christyn Williams (health and safety protocols), and Azzi Fudd (foot).

However, the Huskies did have another star freshman on the floor in Caroline Ducharme who torched the Red Storm from the perimeter for 28 points, but UConn could not shake the Johnnies until the final eight minutes of regulation.

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St. John’s (5-12, 1-6 Big East) ripped off a 7-0 run to begin the fourth quarter and was within eight points, 61-53, of UConn with 8:35 to play but a Geno Auriemma timeout was all the Huskies needed to regroup and finish with one last blast, winning 75-57.

Ducharme drilled a 3-pointer out of the timeout and Dorka Juhasz followed with a 3-pointer of her own on the ensuing possession.

The two shots were the catalysts of a 10-0 UConn run, which was an extended 14-4 run to close the game.

Juhasz fell one rebound shy of a double-double with 16 points and nine boards while Olivia Nelson-Ododa did not shoot much but was just as effective with 18 rebounds and 10 assists.

St. John’s basketball stars tried to deliver against monster foe

St. John’s stars Leilani Correa and Kadaja Bailey were stars with 19 and 21 points, respectively,

“[St. John’s] are better than their record,” Auriemma said.

“They are difficult to prepare for and play against.”

However, the Red Storm were out-rebounded 45-22 and shot just 27.8-percent from 3-point range.

The Johnnies have now dropped eight straight games and will travel to Georgetown (6-7, 1-4 Big East) to face the Hoyas on Tuesday night.

Next. St. John’s falls to Seton Hall in ugly showing at The Garden. dark