NEW YORK (AP) _ Sabrina Johnson scored 20 points to lead four scorers in double figures as St. John's downed Fairfield 83-70 Wednesday night in the opening round of the NCAA women's basketball tournament.

Dolores Dixon followed with 15 points for the Express, 22-9, who advanced to the second round against 10th-ranked Virginia Saturday.

Jane Burgess had 11 and Dori Breen added 10 for St. John's.

Dana Pellegrino had 21 points for the Lady Stags, 19-10, who trailed 43-32 at halftime. Tricia Sacca had 17, 13 in the first half.

St. John's, the Big East champion, scored the game's first five points and never trailed.

Fairfield, which won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title, got to within 15-14 on Tasia Turkalo's three-point play with 13:07 remaining in the half. But after the team's exchanged baskets, the Express, leading 20-19, scored eight consecutive points, four by Lisa Smith, for a 28-19 lead.

St. John increased its lead to 37-24 on Breen's layup with 5:06 to go in the half.

The Express took a 57-43 lead on Johnson's jumper with 11:43 remaining in the game. Fairfield got to within 61-53 on Lisa Mikelic's basket with 7:29 to go.

But St. John's went on a 12-3 run to put the game out of reach at 73-56. Johnson had six points during the spurt.