Women struggle against Dayton


Freshman guard Jenny Vilet shoots a layup against Dayton. The Billikens failed to break Dayton’s winning streak. Saint Louis Athletics

Freshman guard Jenny Vilet shoots a layup against Dayton. The Billikens failed to break Dayton’s winning streak. Saint Louis Athletics
Freshman guard Jenny Vilet shoots a layup against Dayton. The Billikens failed to break Dayton’s winning streak.
Saint Louis Athletics

The SLU women’s basketball team fought an offensive battle against Dayton on Saturday, Jan. 31, at UD Arena. The Billikens lost 87-72 and fell to 4-5 in the Atlantic 10 Conference and 11-11 overall on the season.

“They’re very dangerous,” Billikens head coach Lisa Stone said, “We hung in there with them in the first half and shot lights out. We scored 72 points, which is out of our wheelhouse, but we gave up too many.”

SLU started strong with a 5-2 lead just 1:27 into the first half, but would trail the Flyers for the remainder of the game.  Dayton found its way back into the game with a 13-point streak with 15:11 left in the first half, spearheaded by a steal by Dayton forward Ally Malott and, soon after, a big block by Dayton center Jodie Cornelie.

The Billikens closed the gap to four going into halftime, shooting 17-of-33 from the floor, including 9-of-16 from the 3-point line.

Sadie Stipanovich scored the first points of the second half with a jumper 28 seconds in, giving the Bills their closest reach to the Flyers’ lasting lead.  After briefly allowing the deficit to grow to eight, the Bills held fast, only trailing by 5 with 12:43 left in the game.

The two highly offensive teams were in a deadlock for the next five minutes, each scoring seven points to bring the game to a 66-61 Flyer lead.

A 9-0 Dayton streak spelled trouble for the Billikens and was sparked by a key Dayton 3-pointer and some missed opportunities by SLU.

Despite the Bills’ fighting mentality in the final minutes and they fact that they were just within range in the first portion of play, the Flyers came out on top 87-72. SLU was outscored by 11 in the second half alone.

Coach Stone summed up her thoughts on the result in a postgame interview.

“We got beat by a really good team today, but we fought our tails off the entire game,” she said. “We didn’t get to the foul line enough,” Stone said.

The Flyers racked up 20 points in comparison to the Billikens’ nine points from the free-throw line.

However, what left a strong impact on the team was that the Billiken bench scored 41 of the team’s 72 points.  The Flyers did not come remotely close to matching that; their bench brought in only 17 of 87 points.  SLU’s 3-point game was also consistent, with 11 against Dayton’s nine.  The Bills had only given up eight 3-pointers in the past three games before their matchup against Dayton.

The loss was not what the Billikens were hoping for, but they need not hang their heads.  “Our kids had courage; they had fight and belief they could win,” Stone said.  “It was a good game in terms of things for us to get better at and visions for us as to where we want our program to go.”

Not only did their own coach have pride in them, but Dayton head coach Jim Jabir showed them respect as well when he came into the Billiken locker room after the game to share a few words.  “You should not hang your heads.  This is a team on the rise,” Jabir said.

On  Jan. 29, the women squeaked out a buzzer-beater win against Saint Joseph’s at Chaifetz Arena with a final offensive rebound by Stipanovich and a comeback from a 19-0 run by the Hawks in the first half.  Stipanovich and Jackie Kemph took control of the game with 18 and 11 points, respectively.

The women travel to Richmond, Saturday, Feb. 7, to face the Spiders.  Richmond is 5-3 in the Atlantic Conference and 13-8 overall on the season.

Coach Stone is confident in her team; with a bye this week, they have time to prepare for a second away game before returning to Chaifetz to play George Washington.  “We are heading in the right direction, and we’ll look forward to next week with Richmond,” Stone said.

The audio for the game will be broadcast live online, for free, on Billiken TV at 2:30 p.m. CST.

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