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Billiken Backcourt Takes Another Blow

Mark Sloan

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This season, the Saint Louis University women’s basketball team looks to fill in the holes left in the backcourt due to the graduation of Mandy Lueking and Kara Wile.

SLU took the first step in finding replacements in their first exhibition game against a touring team from the National Women’s Basketball League. The Billikens won 84-57.

With the Billikens holding a slim 13-11 lead seven minutes into the contest, Jana Tillman scored seven consecutive points to give the Billikens a 22-11 lead. NWBL chipped away at the lead.

With 4:30 left in the first half, the Billikens led by five points. But SLU scored 19 straight points to lead 48-24 at halftime.

SLU shot 51 percent from the field in the first half and connected on two of their nine shots from behind the arc. The Billikens were six of 10 from the charity stripe. They held NWBL to 31 percent shooting in the first half.

The Billikens cruised on to the victory, leading by as many as 42 points in the second half.

SLU shot 41 percent in the second half and made two of their 10 three-point shots.

Tillman led all scorers with 15 points. Christan Shelton added 14 points for SLU and Lakia Jones scored 10.

Jones led the way on the glass for the Billikens, pulling down nine rebounds. April McKinney and Tillman each added seven boards.

The Billikens shot 46 percent from the field for the game and 21 percent from three-point range. SLU out-rebounded NWBL 56-36.

“It was a good game,” said head coach Jill Pizzotti. “It gave us an opportunity to get everyone on the floor and for everyone to pick up game minutes. We could try different combinations of players. It gave us the opportunity to make adjustments.”

Unfortunately, SLU lost Tillman to an anterior cruciate ligament tear early in the second half. Tillman joins the list of injured Billikens that includes Harmonie King, who tore her ACL this summer, and Melissa Oliver, who injured her ankle early in one of the initial practice sessions. SLU is playing with only four guards: Star Jackson, Greta Bujaker, Kirsti Holloway, and Shelton.

The Billikens wrap up their exhibition schedule against Gold Star on Friday Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Bauman-Eberhardt Center.

“This will be a tougher game,” Pizzotti said. “We’ll have to be less liberal with our substitutions. We’ll still get everyone in the game. We want to concentrate on how to best make our adjustments. We only have four guards for a while.”

SLU will open the regular season on Friday Nov. 17 against Drake at the Bauman-Eberhardt Center. The Billikens look to build on their 11-17 record from last season.

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Billiken Backcourt Takes Another Blow