PHILADELPHIA, PA. 12/15/2018 – The La Salle Explorers got their first win of the season in the previous game. The Explorers hoped to extend the win streak against the Red Storm of St. John’s, who have won five road games this season. La Salle could not put back-to-back wins together as they fall to St. John’s 83 – 57 at the Gola Arena. The next winning streak will have to wait.
The difference in the game was the ability by the Red Storm to get inside baskets. The Johnnies won the points in the paint battle by a 40 – 16 margin and got 18 fast break points.
“They penetrate the ball really well,” said La Salle Coach Mountain MacGillivray. “Their ability to get the ball off the glass, get to the basket is what they do. We countered it with turnovers, but we made it easy in parts of the game for them to get it in. It was a factor.”
The Explorers fought back behind the scoring of sophomore guard Rayshel Brown who scored a career-high 20 points as she connected on 8 of 14 from the floor and was a perfect 3 of 3 from distance. Brown was the first Explorer to score 20 in a game this season. It came as a surprise to her.
“I didn’t know how may I had until I looked up at the scoreboard in the second half,” said Brown. “It shocked me because I don’t shoot threes. When I looked up and saw how many points I had, I was shocked.”
La Salle shot a season-high in field goal percentage making 23 of 57 for 40.4%, and a best this year 8 of 17 (47.1%) from beyond the arc. Deja King contributed 12 points while dishing out 5 assists, and Michelle Nicholls added 10 points. Jeryn Reese pulled down 6 boards.
Philadelphian Alisha Kebbe, a Neumann-Goretti grad, returned home and scored 19 for the Red Storm who had four starters in double figures led by Akina Wellere with 21 points, 2 shy of her career-high. The only starter who did not get double-digits was Tiana England, but she handed out 11 assists, a career-mark for the sophomore guard.
St. John’s (7 – 3) led from the beginning. They got out to a 22 – 8 lead in the first quarter. The Explorers tried to stay within striking distance. The lead would shrink to 7 at 53 – 46 with 1:26 on the clock in the third quarter. After falling behind La Salle cut the deficit to single digits with 8:08 to play on a layup by King at 60 – 51. The Red Storm countered with a 16 – 6 run to end it. During the game the Red Storm would create distance, the Explorers would answer, St. John’s would have an answer.
La Salle (1 – 9) will take the court again on Wednesday against Northern Kentucky in the Friar Holiday Classic trying to get their second win.
“There are parts of the game where we are doing some things well and others not,” MacGillivray said. “We talked about it that we are trying to be the hardest working team on the floor.”