Women’s basketball remains undefeated

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Women’s basketball remains undefeated

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The women’s basketball team has made a statement, starting this season with a 7-0 record– their best start since the 1980-1981 season.

The Billikens faced a tough Mercer squad on Nov. 20 in Macon, Georgia.   It was tight in the first quarter, ending with a 12-12 score.  Into the second quarter, the Bears did not let up, and SLU could not quite pull away with the lead going into halftime.  Mercer took the lead 24-21 at the break.

Just like previous games, the Billikens picked up the pace in the third quarter.  SLU went on a 13-6 run to tie things up at 34.  Mercer answered with a spurt at the tail end of the quarter to take the lead going into the fourth quarter, 41-36.

However, if anyone knows this year’s Billiken squad, they know not to underestimate their second-half performances.  Mercer had the lead 45-40 in the beginning of the fourth quarter, but junior center Sadie Stipanovich came up with a crucial three-point play to close the gap.  Senior forward Denisha Womack made the game even with a basket of her own.

SLU’s discipline put the game away 68-60.  The Billikens outscored the Bears 32-19 in the last quarter of play.

This victory was key to not only keep their winning streak alive, but also to break SLU’s eight-game losing streak in road openers.  The Billikens also shot an impressive 82.6 percent from the free-throw line.  Stipanovich recorded her seventh 20-point performance of her career.

Head coach Lisa Stone noted that the details really came into play in the last few minutes of the game.  “Our free throw shooting saved us, and defensively, we really locked down,” Stone said.  “A year ago, we may not have won this game.  We have players that are really passionate about seeing the result on the left side of the column, and they get out there and do what has to be done.”

The Billikens continued to conquer on the road when they faced Indiana State on Nov. 25 in Terre Haute, Indiana.  They defeated the Sycamores, 62-52.

In contrast to the Mercer game, the Billikens took the lead early in the game and came out on top in the first quarter, 12-10.  Senior guard Jamesia Price started things off with a three-pointer in the first few seconds.  Junior forward Olivia Jakubicek made a layup to give the Billikens the lead at the end of the quarter.

In the second quarter, SLU took a 19-12 lead halfway through the quarter with a jumper by freshman center Tara Dursham and a layup from Kemph.  However, Indiana State answered with a 7-0 run to tie the game up at 19.

This swing of momentum had no effect on SLU going into the third quarter.  The Bills went on an 11-0 run from the whistle.  Again, the Sycamores found a way to get back in the game.  They scored nine points in the last three minutes of play to make it 37-35 in favor of SLU going into the last period of the game.

A pair of free throw shots by sophomore guard Maddison Gits gave the Billikens their first double-digit lead.  Free throws continued to lead the Billikens to victory.  They accumulated all of their points in the final two minutes of the game from the line.  The Bills finished the game 62-52, improving their record to 4-0.

This team continues to break records left and right.  The win marks the first time since the 1999-2000 season that SLU has won their first two games on the road.

Kemph racked up 21 points.  Price registered a game-high three steals, and Womack had six rebounds.  The Billiken defense locked things down by holding Indiana State to 29.1 percent shooting overall and 27.3 percent from three-point range.

The Billikens then faced Eastern Illinois in Chaifetz Arena on Nov. 28.  SLU impressed yet again with an astounding 31-point win, 78-47.  Play was tight in the first quarter with SLU taking no more than a six-point lead at any time.  The Billikens pulled away 17-15 at the end of the quarter.  Womack took the lead for the Billikens with a last second three-point play.

The Billikens had a solid second quarter, never dropping their lead throughout the ten minutes of play.  SLU had a comfortable 11-point advantage at intermission, 38-27.

SLU showed up big time again in the third quarter, with a 13-2 spurt in the middle of the quarter to make it 51-29.  The Billikens never let up as they kept the gap to 20 points or more throughout the rest of the game.  SLU led 60-39 at the end of the quarter.

The Bills outscored Eastern Illinois 18-8 in the final quarter of play and put the game away easily, 78-47.

SLU made significant offensive strides.  Their 38 points before half-time are the most they have scored in the first half.  The 11-point lead at half-time is also the largest of the season.

Stone was happy with the full team effort.  “We did win each quarter, which was a goal of ours, and our first half was better than it has been so far,” she said.  “Our young players were able to get some extended minutes, which is good for their experience.

The Billikens continued dominating on Monday Nov. 30, against UMSL at Chaifetz.  SLU put them away, 67-31.  The women jumped ahead early with a 19-5 lead in the first quarter.  They allowed UMSL eight more points in the second quarter, leading the game 38-13 going into halftime.

They steadily increased their lead in the second half of play, staying ahead by over 20 points for the duration.  This win made the Billikens 6-0 on the season, the third time in program history.

The women had good discipline with only 11 turnovers, a season low.  They tied their number of turnovers with their number of steals, which gave them a 26-2 advantage in points scored off turnovers.  Price now has 12 games in which she has racked up points in the double-digits.

On Wednesday Dec. 2, SLU defeated Memphis 63-57 at Chaifetz to tie the record for the best start in program history.

SLU lead for the entirety of the game, only losing the lead for 42 seconds early in the first half when they trailed 11-9.  The game remained tight in the second quarter, but Kemph had two key three-pointers to keep the Bills in the lead.

The women led by 12 midway through the third quarter with a three-pointer from sophomore guard Jenny Vliet.  They led by 17 going into the final quarter of play.

Memphis went on a 10-0 spurt early in the fourth quarter, but the Billikens held strong and took the win to remain undefeated.

The Billikens face SIUE, who has a 3-4 record, on Dec. 7, in Edwardsville, Illinois at 7 p.m.