QUEENS, N.Y. - An early 19-0 run by St. John's was the difference in La Salle's 66-45 loss to the Red Storm at Carnesecca Arena on Wednesday night. Alexis Scott led the Explorers with 17 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the second half.
Jess Koci, Brittany Wilson and Jada Payne chipped in seven apiece, with Payne also pulling down a team-high five rebounds. St. John's Nadirah McKenith drained a game-high 26 points and Sheinneka Smith added 10. McKenith also pulled down seven rebounds to lead all players.
The loss drops the Explorers to 1-2, while the Red Storm improve to 1-1.
An early two-point bucket by Amber Thompson was negated by a Wilson trey and free throw, but the Red Storm responded with their 19-point run to push the score to 22-4 in favor of the home squad. McKenith scored 11 of her 26 points in that run which spanned 11:04. Scott broke the Explorers' drought with a layup at 5:19.
The Explorers closed out the half with a 10-4 run helped by turnovers on six consecutive Red Storm possessions to bring the score to 26-14 at the half.
The Blue & Gold closed the gap to nine points out of the gate in the second half, thanks to two straight Koci layups and a free throw. That was the closest the Explorers would get down the stretch as the home squad pushed its lead to as many as 24 late in the half.
St. John's was helped by 20 second-chance points as the Red Storm capitalized on 15 offensive rebounds, and also netted 23 of their points off of Explorer miscues.
The Explorers were limited to 25.4 percent shooting (15-for-59) while the Red Storm shot 45.3 percent (29-for-64).
La Salle returns home for the second of back-to-back BIG EAST opponents when the Explorers host Rutgers on Saturday at 7 p.m. as part of a Homecoming doubleheader.