Women’s basketball topples SEMO 67-52

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Women’s basketball topples SEMO 67-52

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The women’s basketball team came out on the front foot in their season opener on Nov. 14 beating South East Missouri State 67-52  – breaking their five-game losing streak in season openers and showing everyone that this is going to be a championship season.

The Billikens had a slight lead at the end of the first quarter, 11-9. Halfway through the second quarter, SEMO found some energy and led 19-15.  Sophomore forward Maddison Gits put an end to the Redhawks scoring spell by scoring a layup with five minutes left in the second quarter.  Sophomore guard Jackie Kemph put in a free throw to make it 19-18 Redhawks.  Freshman guard Jordyn Frantz made a crucial rebound and connected to Gits for another layup to take the lead back, 20-19.

SLU kept this lead through the rest of the quarter and led at half, 29-23.  The Bills had a 14-4 run to take the momentum.

The women came out strong in the third quarter, when senior guard Jamesia Price drove to the basket to put in a layup.  She was fouled and successfully converted on the three-point play.  They earned their first double-digit lead of the game, 33-23.

Within the next three minutes, the ten-point lead turned into twenty.  However, SEMO fought their way back at the tail end of the quarter to make the score 52-37 going into the fourth quarter.

SEMO reached within 12 points at the onset of the quarter, but SLU continued to push its offense to keep the lead.  SLU continued to widen the gap and finally finished the strong offensive performance by taking the win, 67-52.

Kemph led the way for the Billikens with 15 points and five assists, the highest of the game in both categories.  Price posted 11 points, and junior center Sadie Stipanovich recorded a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds.  Gits posted a career-high 11 points.

The Billikens also dominated the defensive side of the ball.  Senior forward Denisha Womack collected nine rebounds, while junior forward Olivia Jakubicek snatched six rebounds, and four of them were offensive rebounds.

Head coach Lisa Stone was impressed with her team’s performance, especially the reserves.  “The start of the second half was very good,” she said.  “We had good momentum, our defense tightened up and we did a better job on ball screens.  I credit our bench.  Maddie Gits and Jordyn Frantz came in and gave us a big spark, and they had good production on offense.”

However, she knows the team has a long way to go if they want to be the championship team that they’re striving to be.  “We didn’t play as clean as I’d like, but it’s a W,” Stone said.  “We’re short of our offensive goal of 70 points a game, but we’re nearly there.  It demonstrated that we have a long way to go.”

The Billikens continued to impress on Tuesday night with a win against Tulsa at Chaifetz, 82-73.

The women got off to a rocky start in the first quarter, not scoring until almost two minutes in, and falling 11-2 three minutes in.  The Bills closed the gap slightly by the end of the first quarter to make in 23-18 in the Golden Hurricanes’ favor.

The second quarter was tight between both squads, but Tulsa pulled ahead at the break, 37-35.

Suddenly, it was déjà vu for the Billikens in the third quarter of play.  Womack put one in to put the Billikens up 39-37, and the rest was history.  SLU had a nine-point lead by the end of the third quarter, 62-53.

However, the women were tested in the middle of the fourth quarter when Tulsa went on a 10-4 run to make the score, 66-63.  Gits and Womack put in a layup a piece to silence the Golden Hurricanes and take back a comfortable lead to finish the game with a win.

Stipanovich and Womack both had strong offensive performances, both putting 16 points on the board.  Price contributed 14 and Kemph followed with 13.  Kemph also had a career-high 14 assists and registered her second career double-double.

Another crucial part of the win for the Billikens was their consistency at the free throw line.  SLU went 17-22 while Tulsa shot only 7-14.

The win marks a big step in the program’s history.  The women’s team is now 2-0 for the first time since the 2006-2007 season.

Stone commented on the game.  “I’m very pleased with the win over a quality, well-coached team,” she said.  “We gave up 73 points, which is uncharacteristic of us, but we also scored 82 points, which is also pretty uncharacteristic.”

She applauds the team chemistry that is happening on the court amongst her players.  “We had 25 assists on 29 made baskets, which shows tremendous team chemistry.”

Stone also notes the importance of the third quarter.  “We talked at halftime about the third quarter being our quarter, and it was.  We really dug in defensively and got our offensive rhythm going a little bit better.”

The team is looking forward to going on the road with a positive start to the season.  “We played Mercer last year and they beat us on our home court, so this gives us a good opportunity.”

The women travel to Macon, Georgia, this upcoming Sunday, Nov. 22, to face Mercer at 1 p.m.  The Billikens are on the road again Wednesday, Nov. 25, at Indiana State University at 5 p.m.