In the opening game of the Women’s Paradise Jam in the US Virgin Islands, the Purdue women’s basketball lost, 68-62, Thursday night to St. John’s.

It was the Boilers’ (4-1) first loss of the season.

St. John’s (3-0) had four starters score 14 points each – Akina Wellere, Curteeona Brelove, Alisha Kebbe and Tianna England. Purdue, meanwhile, had only two score in double digits – Karissa McLaughlin (25 points) and Ae’Rianna Harris (17). Harris also had a double-double with 10 rebounds.

Despite losing each of the first three quarters and being down, 53-45, going into the final 10 minutes, Purdue had its chances. Down 10 with 7:17 to go, 58-48, the Boilers made a run. With 2:52 to go, they were down only three, 60-57, after a 3-pointer by Hardin Cassidy, her only points of the game.

Neither team scored in the next 2+ minutes, however.

With 36 seconds to go, Qadashah Hoppie made a 3-pointer for the Red Storm making it 63-57. Yet, a Purdue layup by McLaughlin, 2 free throws by St. John’s Kebbe followed by a 3-pointer by McLaughlin made the game still within reach, 65-62.

After a foul by Kayana Traylor to stop the clock with 12 seconds left, Kebbe missed the second of two free throws. But an offensive board by St. John’s, sealed the outcome.

For Purdue coach Sharon Versyp, it was St. John’s field goal shooting that made the difference – going into the game that did not statistically favor the Red Storm.

“They just shot it well, period,” she said on her post-game radio show. “They shot the ball well from behind the arc, which was their weakness. They did pull-up jump shots (that were) contested, end of shot clock. We didn’t allow them to get a lot of layups and force the outside shot because that was their weakness, but it was not a weakness tonight for them.”

St. John’s was 28 of 58 from the field, or 48.3 percent – including 6 of 14 from 3-point distance, or 42.9 percent. Purdue was 25 of 51 overall, 49.0 percent, and 5 of 15 from long-range, 33.3 percent.

Going into the Purdue matchup, St. John's had been shooting 38.5 percent from the field and only 20.9 percent from 3-point distance.

“We need to do better on offense,” she said. “We struggled. A couple of players who usually score a lot for us didn’t – they have to be consistent. And we were a little bit more passive. We have to learn a lot from this game; that’s the big thing.”

The Boilers were outrebounded, 30-29 and had 6 more turnovers than the Red Storm, 19-13.

Purdue returns to action at 5:30 p.m., Friday vs. Ole Miss in the Paradise Jam.

HALFTIME COVERAGE:

St. John’s has slightly more rebounds, better shooting and fewer turnovers to take a 33-27 lead over Purdue at halftime in the opening round of the women’s 2018 Paradise Jam in the US Virgin Islands on Thursday.

St. John’s (2-0) has made four more field goals than Purdue 15 to 11 and has outshot the Boilers 46.9 to 44.0 percent from the field. The Red Storm own a 2-rebound advantage, 17-15, and have committed 3 fewer turnovers, 10-7.

Akin Wellere and Tiana England lead St. John’s in scoring with 11 and 9 points respectively. Purdue (4-0), meanwhile, is being led by 11 by Karissa McLaughlin and 6 each from Ae’Rianna Harris and Tamara Faquhar.

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