St. John's Aliyyah Handford, right, is pressured by Louisville's Sheronne...

St. John's Aliyyah Handford, right, is pressured by Louisville's Sheronne Vails, top left, and Louisville's Sara Hammond, bottom left, in the first half of a quarterfinal of the Big East women's tournament in Hartford, Conn. (March 10, 2013) Credit: AP

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Sara Hammond had 22 points and 11 rebounds to help No. 13 Louisville beat St. John's 62-55 on Sunday in the Big East women's tournament quarterfinals.

The Cardinals (24-7) will face No. 2 Notre Dame in the semifinals Monday night. The Irish beat South Florida 75-66.

After trailing by three at the half, Shoni Schimmel's 3-pointer gave Louisville a 32-30 lead with 16 minutes left. Hammond followed with a three-point play moments later to extend the advantage. St. John's hung around over the next 11 minutes and trailed 54-50 after Nadirah McKenith's free throws with 3:11 left.

That's as close as the Red Storm (18-12) would get as the Cardinals scored the next four points to put the game away.

"Coach told us to run the floor and get them tired and then go to work inside, because we have the strength inside advantage," said Hammond.

Shenneika Smith scored 19 points to lead St. John's, which hopes it's done enough to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The Red Storm, which had won seven of its last eight coming into the game, are hosting the first two rounds.

"I think we had a great year, especially at the finish, so I hope that will be taken into account," said St. John's coach JoeTartamella. "Finishing 11-5 in our conference, we always feel is tough to do."

McKenith left the game with less than a minute left after getting hit in the head. She was helped off the court.

"I think they checked her nose, her nose was fine as far as I know," Tartamella said.

St. John's trailed 15-2 as Louisville hit five of its first six shots. The Cardinals then went cold from the field and Smith got hot. She scored 12 straight points as the Red Storm went on a 22-6 run to close the half.

Louisville missed 24 of its final 27 shots in the first half, including going 0 for 11 from behind the arc. The Cardinals shot 63 percent (17 for 27) in the second half.

Top Stories