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St. John's falls to No. 14 UCLA in overtime of St. John's Classic

Shenneika Smith hits for an early two-pointer. (Jan.

Shenneika Smith hits for an early two-pointer. (Jan. 17, 2012) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Jasmine Dixon's lay-up with 1.2 seconds left lifted No. 14 UCLA to a 53-52 overtime victory over St. John's on Sunday in the championship game of the St. John's Holiday Classic.

Trailing by one, Markel Walker inbounded the ball to Dixon for the wide-open basket. Shenneika Smith's 60-foot fling was short at the buzzer.

Nadirah McKenith had given the Red Storm (5-4) a 52-51 lead with a lay-in with 25 seconds left.

After a timeout, UCLA's Alyssia Brewer caught the ball in the block and forced a shot up with 2.5 seconds left. It missed and went out of bounds off the Red Storm giving UCLA a final chance.

Brewer led UCLA (7-1) with 14 points and 15 rebounds and earned MVP honors of the tournament.

Shenneika Smith scored a season-high 25 points for St. John's.

UCLA trailed 45-43 with 21 seconds left in regulation when Brewer made a nifty pass from the post to Dixon for an easy lay-in to tie the game. St. John's had a chance to win in regulation but Smith's 3-pointer from the wing was off the rim.

The game looked like it was headed for a blowout at the start.

UCLA built a 22-6 advantage as the Red Storm missed 19 of their first 21 shots. The Bruins were getting contributions from everywhere. It could have been a bigger lead, but St. John's was able to play solid defense despite struggling on offense.

Atonye Nyingifa's lay-in with 5:39 left in the half was the Bruins last points before the break. St. John's closed the half on an 11-0 run sparked by Smith.

She got the burst started with a 3-pointer and had seven points during the run. UCLA missed its last 10 shots of the half.

St. John's continued its run in the second half. After UCLA took a 26-19 advantage on Nirra Fields' jumper with 18:24 left in the game, the Red Storm scored 13 of the next 15 points. Handford had seven points during the run. Smith's lay-in with 12:58 remaining gave St. John's its first lead of the game.

Fields finally ended UCLA's 8-minute drought without a basket, banking in a 3-pointer from the wing that brought the Bruins within 32-31.

Neither team could build much of a lead over the final 10 minutes of regulation.

After a successful trip to New York, UCLA returns home to finish off the month with three non-conference games before beginning Pac-12 play after the New Year. Besides playing the two games, the Bruins made the most of their time in the city. They took in a Broadway show, saw the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center and visited ground zero.

The Red Storm, sporting new black uniforms, are still trying to get in a rhythm after losing senior guard Eugeneia McPherson to a season-ending ACL injury to her right knee two weeks ago. She was at the game after having surgery on the knee on Wednesday.

Saint Mary's took third place in the tournament, beating Tennessee Tech 73-58.

New York Sports