St. John's basketball falls to Toledo in WBIT second round

The Red Storm's season came to a disappointing end in the postseason
St. John's Red Storm head coach Joe Tartamella talks during a timeout against the Florida Gators
St. John's Red Storm head coach Joe Tartamella talks during a timeout against the Florida Gators / Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun / USA

The St. John's basketball team saw its season end in heartbreaking fashion as Toledo mounted a late comeback to advance to the quarterfinals of the WBIT Tournament.

Both teams shot well offensively for the game at 50-percent and 51-percent, respectively, but it was St. John's who had a dominating second quarter to take a 37-27 lead into halftime.

The Red Storm outscored Toledo by 12 points in the 2nd quarter by shooting 56-percent from the field and holding the Rockets to 4-of-13 shooting. However, Toledo would chip away at the lead in the second half, outscoring the Johnnies in both the 3rd and 4th quarters.

An 8-0 run, which was followed by a 6-0 run in the 4th quarter from Toledo turned the tide of the game and gave the MAC regular season champions its first lead since the early 2nd quarter.

Down 72-69 with 11 seconds left, Unique Drake missed two free throws that could have drawn the Red Storm within one. The Red Storm would quickly get the ball back and Jillian Archer would score to make the game a 72-71, but with just 3 seconds left it was too little too late as Toledo inbounded without any problems to seal the win.

Drake scored a game-high 21 points in her final collegiate game, which capped off an incredible season by averaging 18.4 points per game, which is the highest for a Red Storm player since Danejah Grant averaging 19.3 points per game in the 2015-16 season.

With her appearance in Sunday's contest, the Columbia, South Carolina native set a program record for the most games played in a St. John's uniform with 147.

Despite four out of five starters notching double figures, St. John's just could not withstand the late push by Toledo. Toledo senior center Hannah Noveroske's 13-point, 10-rebound double-double in 14 minutes played a huge role in sinking the Red Storm.

The result officially ends the Johnnies' 2023-24 season at 18-15 (11-7 Big East).

Certainly there are positives to take away from the season, but a lot of rebuilding must be done with the losses of the roster's upperclassmen as the Red Storm will look for some more consistency next season.