March 10, 2014
Postgame Press Conference: St. John's | Creighton
ROSEMONT, Ill. – Forward Amber Thompson scored a go-ahead layup while guard Aliyyah Handford added four free throws in the final 18 seconds as St. John’s earned a berth in the BIG EAST title game with Monday’s 68-63 double overtime win over Creighton at Allstate Arena.
The No. 2 seed Red Storm (22-9) meet top seed DePaul or No. 5 Marquette in Tuesday’s title game. St. John’s last played in the BIG EAST finals in 1988 and will be making its fourth trip overall. The Red Storm are 3-0 in the championship game with crowns in 1988, 1984 and 1983.
St. John’s rallied from a seven-point regulation deficit to tie the semifinal game and had two free critical throws from Danaejah Grant with five seconds left in the first overtime to force another extra period.
Thompson’s driving layup with 1:35 left in the second OT gave the Red Storm a 64-63 lead. Handford then collected two insurance free throws with 11.8 seconds left and added a pair after being fouled in a scramble for the ball following a missed Creighton shot with three seconds showing.
Grant had 20 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Red Storm while Handford added 19.
Sarah Nelson scored 20 points for No. 3 seed Creighton (19-13) while Marissa Janning added 11.
Creighton led 25-22 after a sometimes sluggish first half that saw just a combined 24 points by the 7:16 mark. Nelson’s 12 points paced the Bluejays while Handford topped the Red Storm with eight points.
Aaliyah Lewis trimmed the St. John deficit with a buzzer-beating three-pointer from mid court.
St. John’s trailed 48-41 with 11:13 left in regulation but rallied to force two late ties, the last with three seconds left in regulation on Keylantra Langley’s driving layup to force a 54-54 deadlock and overtime.
Creighton led 58-56 in the waning seconds of the first overtime but Grant drew a foul on a drive, was fouled and converted two free throws for a 58-58 tie and second extra session.
The Bluejays had advanced with a 61-52 victory over Butler in Sunday’s quarterfinals while the Red Storm beat Providence 63-42.
Monday’s game featured two Big East first-teamer honorees: St. John’s Handford and Creighton’s Janning, also named league player of the year.
The teams split regular season games with wins on their respective home courts.
The overtime contest was the first in BIG EAST Tournament play since 2012, when St. John’s defeated Louisville in the Quarterfinals, and just the fourth tilt to go at least two extra periods and first since 2010.