In stark contrast to the first round of games, St. John’s flexed its collective muscles early, jumping out to a 14-point lead in the first half from which Memphis would never fully recover
St. John’s (7-5), led by Shenneika Smith’s 18 points, gave Memphis its first loss in seven games. Smith went 8-for-14 in the contest, with 14 points in the first half. Fellow guard Eugeneia McPherson recorded her seventh-straight game in double digits as she finished with a second-best 13 points against the Tigers.
McPherson, who had 20 points against Prairie View A&M in Saturday’s opening round of games, earned her first-ever Mrs. Eleanor Taffner Tournament MVP award. The junior averaged 16.5 points per game in tournament play.
Smith was also named to the All-Tournament team, as well as senior forward Da’Shena Stevens, who had 11 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal in the Holiday Classic final.
“It was a really good basketball game,” said head coach Kim Barnes Arico. “We got a little sloppy late in the second half, but we have some kids handling the ball that aren’t accustomed to doing it for long periods of time and against the type of pressure that Memphis gave us.”
From Memphis (9-2), Brittany Carter and Jasmine Lee joined McPherson, Smith and Stevens on the all-tournament team. Carter sunk a game-high 23 points against St. John’s, shooting 10-for-24 from the floor.
Louisiana Tech defeated Prairie View A&M, 89-83, in a triple-overtime thriller in the consolation game. Louisiana Tech’s Jasmine Bendolph was also named to the All-Tournament team.
With the victory, St. John’s is 8-0 in its Holiday Classic. The Red Storm advances to 6-1 at Carnesecca Arena, winning the last five games at home after losing the season-opener to St. Bonaventure.