Tiana England and Qadasha Hoppie each scored eight of their 13 points during a 30-8 second-half run as the St. John’s women drew away from Western Michigan, 76-48, in the opening round of the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida, on Friday.
Akina Wellere led four players for the Red Storm (3-0) in double figures with 16 points and Maya Singleton got her third straight double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds, and tacked on a career-high four assists.
Leading 39-31, Alisha Kebbe triggered the big run with a three-point play with 6:23 left in the third quarter. England’s two free throws with 3:46 left in the game capped the run and gave the Storm a 69-39 lead.
“This was a great team win for us, especially being shorthanded with one of our players out,” coach Joe Tartamella said. “Everybody had a chance to get in the game and everyone scored. I thought we did a great job finishing the second quarter and creating better opportunities for ourselves in the second half. Now we have to get ready and recover for two more games down here on Saturday and Sunday.”
Kebbe narrowly missed her first career double-double with a 10-rebound, nine-point effort. Those 10 boards matched her career high set against Rutgers last season.
Breanna Mobley scored 16 points for WMU (2-3), which shot only 29.2 percent from the field.
St. John’s will play No. 3 South Carolina in the second round Saturday.