HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — St. John’s beat No. 4 UConn for the first time in 11 years on Tuesday, giving the Red Storm a signature win for its NCAA Tournament resume.
Danielle Patterson and Kadaja Bailey each scored 20 points and Jayla Everett added 17 in the 69-64 upset.
It was St. John’s it 20th win of the season (20-7, 11-7 Big East), and came three days after the team scored just 38 points in a 23-point loss to Marquette.
“It’s just an unbelievable win for our program and these kids,” coach Joe Tartamella said. “They’ve been waiting for a game like this all year and I’m just so proud of them.”
Lou Lopez Senechal scored 18 points while Dorka Juhasz and Aaliyah Edwards each had 14 for UConn (24-5, 16-2), which was looking to secure a share of its 29th regular-season conference title and 10th in a row.
St. John’s led the game for more than 28 minutes and by as much as nine points in the first half.
UConn had a chance to tie it at 62 late, but Caroline Ducharme missed her short jumper badly and Jayla Everett hit a baseline jumper to extend the lead to four points.
UConn was then forced to foul and Bailey hit four key free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
“We didn’t get down on ourselves,” Patterson said. “We just continued to play and see it through and then we were able to go to some really good people at the end and we were able to get it done.”
St. John’s held UConn to 35.5% shooting and outrebounded the Huskies 42-37.
The Red Storm led 35-30 at the half.
But Nika Muhl’s 3-pointer to open the third quarter triggered an 13-0 run, giving the Huskies a 43-35 lead, their first advantage since it was 7-5 in the first quarter.
A technical foul on Aaliyah Edwards after an offensive rebound attempt, led to a 4-point possession for St. John’s, which tied the game at 43.
A conventional 3-point play by Everett gave St. John’s a 51-48 lead heading into the fourth and they pushed the lead to six points with six minutes to play.
“It would have been a sin if they would have lost the game,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “They played so well and so hard.”
UConn won the first meeting between the two teams by 30 points in January.
“This is it,” Auriemma said. “This is who we are right now.”
St. John’s: The Red Storm extended their lead to a game over Seton Hall for the fifth seed in the conference tournament. The top five seeds receive a first-round bye… St. John’s last beat UConn on Feb. 18, 2012 ending the Huskies 99-game home winning streak.
“Obviously we’ve got more to do, but this certainly was a win that I think at least we can feel good about that’s going to be on paper that I think people will extremely respect, especially on the road,” Tartamella said.
UConn: The Huskies are still without star Azzi Fudd, who re-injured her right knee a game after returning from injury and scoring 14 points in the Huskies meeting with St. John’s in January. Fudd, who has missed a total of 20 games this season, is hoping to return in time to help UConn make a run next month at a 12th national title. … UConn needs one win in its final two games to secure the top seed in the conference tournament.
“All the emotions we’re feeling right now — anger, embarrassment, disappointment, that’s what’s going to help us bounce back,” said Muhl, who had 13 points, but was in foul trouble for most of the game.
St. Johns: The Red Storm return to Queens for their final regular-season home game on Friday night against Georgetown.
UConn: The Huskies travel to Chicago for a game Saturday at DePaul.
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