Podkowa scores 29 to lead No. 25 DePaul women by St. John's
NEW YORK (AP) Megan Podkowa has always seemed to play her best against St. John's.
The senior scored a career-high 29 points, hitting 12 of her 15 shots, to help No. 25 DePaul hold off St. John's 71-61 on Sunday night.
''Megan is really, really an excellent basketball player,'' DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. ''I've known that since we recruited her.''
Podkowa averaged 15.5 points in the two meetings last season against the Red Storm and also had 12 in the Big East tournament championship game in 2014.
''Podkowa has annihilated us her whole career, I can't wait for her to graduate,'' St. John's coach Joe Tartamella said. ''She played well and even (Brooke) Schulte's had good games against us. Podkowa is a great player for them.''
Brooke Schulte added 17 points for the Blue Demons (10-5, 2-0 Big East), who used a 27-8 run to close the first half and blow open a close game.
DePaul led 16-13 early in the second quarter as both teams struggled to score in the opening 12 minutes. The Blue Demons then started its game-changing run with 16 of the next 18 points. Schulte scored the first five points and Podkowa hit a 3-pointer that made it 24-13.
Podkowa had 11 points during the burst, hitting all four of her shots, including three 3-pointers. Her layup capped the run, just beating the halftime buzzer. She missed her first shot of the second half, but it didn't matter as DePaul continued its run, scoring 11 of the first 15 to make it 51-25 midway through the third.
Podkowa tied her career high that she set last month against Northwestern on a nifty backdoor layup off an inbound play with 30 seconds left in the third.
''A lot of time the guards are driving and attracting so many people to them,'' Podkowa said. ''I'd be wide open on the wing and the top of the key. ... They got me the ball for wide open shots because the guards are making something happen on offense.''
St. John's (11-3, 2-1) finally got going offensively in the fourth quarter, cutting a 25-point deficit to six with 40 seconds left, but that's as close as they would get as DePaul hit its free throws down the stretch.
''I think we did some things that we thought moving into the future shows what we can be,'' Tartamella said of the fourth-quarter rally.
Aliyyah Handford scored 14 points and Danaejah Grant added 13 to lead St. John's.
DePaul: The Blue Demons are second in the nation with 22.5 assists per game and leads the conference in seven categories including scoring offense, scoring margin, assists, steals, turnover margin, defensive rebounds and 3-pointers. ... The Blue Demons have played five ranked teams already this season, going 2-3. They followed up losses to No. 1 UConn, No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 4 Baylor with wins over No. 15 Texas A&M and No. 12 Northwestern.
St. John's: Handford is sitting in second on St. John's all-time scoring list with 1,773 points. She trails Ling Ling Hou for first. Hou finished her career with 1,950 points. ... St. John's missed 13 of its 15 3-point attempts.
BUSY RED STORM:
This was the third game in six days for St. John's, which will play Marquette on Tuesday. The Red Storm wouldn't use their busy schedule as an excuse for the loss.
''It could have been three games in five days,'' Tartamella said. ''It's all what we agreed to do. ... It's one game and we got to get over it and that's the best part of playing quickly. We got another game coming in two days.''
DePaul visits Seton Hall on Tuesday
St. John's hosts Marquette on Tuesday