Tiana England scored 20 points and St. John's rallied from a double-digit deficit to beat No. 8 Marquette 81-74 on Friday night. It was the first victory for the Red Storm over a top-10 team since upsetting then-No. 2 UConn on the road to end the Huskies' 99-game home winning streak on Feb. 18, 2012.
"It's obviously huge, we need to understand the breadth in what happened here," Red Storm coach Joe Tartamella said. "They are the No. 8 team in the country, undefeated in the Big East and beating teams by 40. For us to compete at that level here and to able to finish the game is great."
The victory was a season-best fourth in a row for St. John's (13-12, 6-8 Big East).
"In the scope of my time here as a head coach what happened tonight, that's one of the biggest wins we've had," said Tartamella who is in his seventh year in charge of the team.
The Red Storm were down 14 in the second quarter and eight at the half before pulling off the shocking win that ended a 12-game winning streak for the Golden Eagles (21-4, 12-1).
"St. John's wanted it more than us," Marquette coach Carolyn Kieger said. "That's really hard for me as a head coach to say. They wanted it more than us. They were tougher than us and deserved the win. They were coming in with a chip on their shoulder and did it from start to finish."
The score was tied at 56 heading into the fourth quarter and St. John's was down 67-66 midway through the quarter when Jasmine Sina's 3-pointer from the corner in front of the Red Storm bench started a 9-1 run. After a defensive stop, England scored on a fast-break layup to extend the Red Storm's advantage to four. That was the team's biggest lead of the game to that point.
The Red Storm kept the run going as the Golden Eagles had no answer on the offensive end. England's layup with 2:17 left made it 75-68. Marquette could get no closer than five the rest of the way.
"The difference today and some of our closer games earlier in the season was that we were locked in," England said. "We got down and didn't stay down. We made it our mission to come back and play together as a team."
Erika Davenport had 24 points and 13 rebounds to lead Marquette while Amani Wilborn added a season-high 22 points.
Davenport got the Golden Eagles started, scoring 12 points in the opening period when Marquette jumped out to a 24-14 lead. The lead grew to 14 in the second quarter before the Red Storm pulled within six behind Qadashah Hoppie. A nifty full-court pass from Davenport to Selena Lott on the run gave Marquette a 40-32 lead at the half.
Alisha Kebbe scored seven of her 16 points in the third quarter as St. John's took its first lead of the game at 56-54 late in the period.
BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: Marquette held a 29-9 rebound advantage in the first half, including 13-1 on the offensive glass. St. John's held the edge in the second half on the boards with a 21-14 mark, including eight offensive ones.
"The first half we kept them off the boards and the second half we gave up eight (offensive) that was the difference down the stretch," Kieger said.
TIP-INS: In a touching tribute before the game, St. John's honored a dozen cancer survives by giving them pink Red Storm t-shirts. Friday night's contest was the school's annual Play4Kay game. ... Marquette was two victories short of the school-record 14-game winning streak set in the 2006-07 season. ... St. John's has had Marquette's number this year in basketball with both the men's and women's teams upsetting the ranked Golden Eagles. The men swept the two games from the Golden Eagles while the women split the two contests.
Marquette: At Seton Hall on Sunday.
St. John's: Hosts DePaul at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
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