Knoxville, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Briana Brown's only bucket of the game came on a 3-pointer with less than a second remaining to lift the eighth- seeded St. John's Red Storm over the ninth-seeded USC Trojans, 71-68, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Aliyyah Handford put up 27 points to lead the Red Storm (23-10), who advance to the second round to take on Tennessee. Amber Thompson was stellar in the paint with 10 points and 17 rebounds.
For USC (22-13), Brianna Barrett shot 12-of-13 from the free-throw line on her way to 24 points, Ariya Crook poured in 16 points and Alexyz Vaioletama grabbed 11 rebounds.
USC outshot St. John's from the field in the first half, 42.4 percent to 40.7 percent, as it held a 40-35 advantage at the break.
The Red Storm held their first lead of the game with 3:07 left following a Keylantra Langley bucket and they extended their advantage to three, 68-65, with just 1:39 to play on a Thompson layup. USC answered on its next possession when Crook knocked down the game-tying 3-pointer. St. John's called a timeout with 25 seconds left to set up its last possession, and Brown connected on the game-winning 3-pointer. USC's desperation heave at the buzzer did not fall and St. John's held on for the thrilling win.
Both St. John's (27-of-33) and USC (24-of-31) were active and effective from the free-throw line.