College Round-up: SJU women’s team drops Big East opener, 77-53

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After doubling its win total from a year ago in 11 non-league games, the St. John’s women’s basketball team lost its Big East opener at No. 24 Villanova, dropping a 77-53 decision Saturday.

Kelly Nash led the Wildcats with 19 points and Nicole Druckenmiller added a career-high 17 points as Villanova (10-1) is off to its best start since 1981-82.

Sophomore Patrycja Gulak (5-for-7) and senior Danielle Rainey scored 11 points apiece for the Red Storm, which lost to Villanova for the 16th time in 17 tries.

St. John’s (6-6, 0-1) hung with Villanova early, but the Wildcats broke open a one-point game with an 18-0 first half run. Druckenmiller nailed five three-pointers in the first half and the Wildcats shot 15-for-35 from three-point range.

Things don’t get any easier for the Red Storm, who head to No. 22 Boston College in a game scheduled for Wednesday night. St. John’s then hosts Seton Hall in its conference home opener Saturday at 2 p.m. at Alumni Hall.

St. John’s split a pair of games at the Atlanta NW Marriott Invitational before the end of the year. First-year coach Kim Barnes-Arico earned her 100th career win Dec. 31 as the Red Storm defeated Florida Atlantic University, 77-72, in the consolation game.

Rainey led all scorers with 22 points, while also posting a game-high seven rebounds and four steals. Reka Szavuly finished with 16 points, connecting on four-of-five from beyond the arc. Shemika Stevens, who scored eight of the Red Storm’s first 13 points, added 13 points.

Crystal Boyland had 15 points and seven rebounds and Tamica Pierce added 13 points and six boards for Florida Atlantic, which fell to 2-9.

St. John’s lost the opener of the tournament to host Georgia Tech, 61-53, on Dec. 30.

Rainey had 13 points and six rebounds, Stevens, Creasie Fowler and Gulak each netted seven points. Alex Stewart led Georgia Tech (10-1), which won its ninth straight, with a game-high 17 points, six rebounds and four assists while Sonja Mallory added 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Hatten picks up Big East honors

Marcus Hatten, a senior on the St. John’s men’s basketball team, earned Big East Player of the Week after averaging 23 points and 8.5 rebounds in the Red Storm’s 2-0 week.

After a 15-point, seven-rebound and four-assist outing in a 78-68 win over Niagara, which snapped the Johnnies’ three-game losing streak, Hatten exploded in the Red Storm’s Big East opener against Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden Saturday afternoon.

The 6-foot-1 senior guard scored a season-high 31 points, connecting on 10-of-21 shots from the field and 11-of-11 from the foul line. He also grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds, recording his second double-double of the year in the 74-66 victory.

Through 10 games, Hatten leads St. John’s and is fourth in the Big East in scoring, averaging 21.6 points per game. He is also second in the league, averaging two steals per game and averages a team-best 6.6 boards per game.

Angels on and off the court

Two former August Martin girls’ basketball standouts are enjoying standout seasons at Monroe College. Freshman Cherita Gray is averaging a team-high 13.6 points per game and, in her first semester as a business major, earned a 3.5 grade point average.

Fellow freshman and business major Rashanna Jackson earned a 3.1 GPA. Monroe is 8-4 on the year.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

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