Women beat ranked team for first time in 12 seasons


Emma Kelley

Emma Kelley
Emma Kelley / Staff photographer

The SLU women’s basketball team picked up arguably its biggest and most impressive win so far this season on Feb. 11. The Billikens welcomed No. 20/21 George Washington to Chaifetz for the Wednesday evening game, where SLU stomped the Colonials, 79-61. This was SLU’s first win over a ranked opponent in 12 seasons, and second time beating an undefeated conference opponent this season.
SLU put pressure on George Washington from the moment the ball was tipped off. The Billikens opened the game with a 17-2 run, and never trailed again. George Washington threatened at the end of the first half, tying the score at 25 with 30 seconds left. SLU responded with a 3-pointer with three seconds remaining, to go into the break with a 28-25 lead.
Less than four minutes into the final half, the Billikens again found themselves up by 10 points, 40-30. From this point out, George Washington remained at least seven points out for the rest of the game. SLU extended its lead all the way to 22 points with 2:10 left to play, en route to the final 18-point margin.
Junior forward Denisha Womack came off the bench and led SLU with 17 points and six rebounds. Junior guard Jamesia Price added 15 points, going 9-of-10 from the free-throw line. Sophomore center Sadie Stipanovich snagged nine rebounds, while freshman guard Jackie Kemph added eight assists.
SLU out-shot the Colonials in every category in both halves. In the first half, the Bills shot 52.9 percent from the field, 63.6 percent from behind the arc and 76.9 percent from behind the stripe, while George Washington went 44.1, 37.5 and 42.9 percent, respectively. SLU finished the game shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 57.9 percent from 3-point range. George Washington shot worse in the second half, making 41.7 percent of its field goal attempts and 31.3 percent behind the arc.
The win over the Colonials evened the Billikens’ overall record at 12-12, and gave them a 5-6 record in the Atlantic 10.
Previously, the women traveled to Richmond to take on the Spiders, another A-10 opponent. The Billikens lost, 75-72, in overtime in a game that ended far closer than it began.
Like the George Washington game, SLU again jumped out to a commanding lead, 20-0. But, the Spiders responded with a 12-0 run of their own, and the score at halftime was 35-25, SLU. Richmond scored on its first three second-half possessions, part of a 9-0 run, to cut SLU’s advantage to one point. A shot by senior guard Desirae Ball, followed by a 3-pointer by the Spiders evened the score at 37.
The Billikens responded with an 8-2 run, but the Spiders didn’t let SLU extend its lead and responded with their own 7-2 run, again making it a one-point game, favoring SLU. A 3-pointer and then layup by Kemph gave SLU a 52-46 lead. Again, the Spiders responded scoring on eight of 11 possessions, evening the score at 64. SLU took its last lead, 68-64, and scored its last points of regulation with 2:27 left. Richmond’s shot that sent the game to overtime was hit with nine seconds left in regulation. SLU missed a shot at the buzzer that would have won the game.
Price recorded her first career double-double against the Spiders, scoring 18 points and collecting 10 rebounds. More than half of her 18 points, 10 to be exact, were scored during SLU’s initial 20-0 run. Price also recorded four assists and three steals on the night. Kemph also scored 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting. She also added four assists. SLU shot a season-high 50.9 percent from the field.
The victory was Richmond’s third straight, and their sixth win in seven games.
Next up for the Bills is a Valentine’s Day showdown at Davidson, in North Carolina. The A-10 newcomer is 5-19 overall and 1-10 in the conference. Though the Wildcats only have one win in conference, that one victory is over the Bills, in St. Louis. The teams met in at Chaifetz Arena on Jan. 18, and Davidson came out on top, 53-50.
On Wednesday, Feb. 18, the Billikens will return home to Chaifetz Arena to host St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies are currently 13-11 overall and 3-8 for the conference and will face off against George Washington before facing SLU.

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