Women’s basketball making a statement with 13-4 record

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Women’s basketball making a statement with 13-4 record

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Over the break, the Billikens continued to smash records and have one of the best starts of the season in school history. They now sit at 13-4 overall, 2-1 in conference and 5-1 at home.

On Dec. 7, SLU went into a battle with SIUE, with a record of 7-0. With a win, they could have had the most consecutive wins to begin a season, but the Cougars crushed the opportunity with a 71-64 win on their home court.

The Billikens led early in the game, but the Cougars put together a 10-1 run in the third quarter to gain the lead. Things remained close at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but crucial Cougar free throws put the game away, and SLU could not find a way to make up ground.

After almost two weeks off from competition, the Billikens bounced back with a major 91-60 win against Alabama A&M in Huntsville, Alabama on Dec. 18.

The women started off with a stellar performance in the first quarter, producing a 22-5 run late in the period to give them a 15-point lead.

This win tied the program’s best nine-game start in history. The team shot 50 percent, which is the second time they’ve reached that number. The women reached the 90-point mark for the first time since a 90-70 win in 2007.

Even with such an incredible start to the season, the Billikens still were not satisfied. The women headed to the Tulane Classic in New Orleans, Louisiana to chase their first tournament title in 12 years. They faced Cleveland State in the first round of the tournament on Dec. 20. The second half proved to hold all of the action, as the Billikens put up a 10-0 run right out of halftime to lead, 43-25, and continued to dominate the rest of the game.

The Vikings kept the game within 10 points, but Stipanovich came up big at the end of the game with a three-point play to pull her team away, 62-50. SLU took the victory, 76-65.

SLU made 23 of 28 free throws against Cleveland State, their best as a team this season. While the women’s offense put the points up on the board, their defense deserves just as much credit. SLU currently holds their opponents to 20.9 percent from the free-throw line, which is the second lowest in the nation.

SLU faced host Tulane in the final on Dec. 21 to possibly grasp a tournament title, but they fell short, 66-58.

The two teams had a tight first quarter, with the Billikens leading only by one point, 15-14. They had a successful second quarter with a 27-23 lead at half.

However, Tulane came out on fire in the third quarter by taking the lead 44-37.

Despite SLU’s efforts, Tulane closed the door early in the fourth quarter with a 50-39 lead. With under a minute left, the Billikens closed within four points, but it was not enough to get back on the front foot.

Senior guard Jamesia Price had two steals, which gave her a career total of 152, and put her in fifth place on SLU’s all-time list.

SLU faced another road game against Ball State on Dec. 28 after a brief holiday break. Ball State proved to be a tough opponent in the Billikens’ 79-70 loss.

The women trailed from the beginning, falling behind 38-33 at halftime. This continued into the third quarter, as they trailed 49-47. Finally, in the fourth quarter, the Bills were down 57-52, and could not catch up. Ball State continuously pulled ahead, and SLU could not muster a large enough comeback to pull off the win.

SLU rounded out their successful non-conference season against Bradley on Dec. 30 at Chaifetz Arena. The Billikens took a 23-4 lead, which is their highest of the season. Into halftime, the Bills led, 38-16.

They led 57-21 in the third quarter and showed no signs of letting up. Bradley shocked everyone with a 34-10 run in the last 12 minutes of the game to close the large gap to 67-55, but the Billikens’ outstanding defense put the game away in the final five minutes of play.

Stipanovich beat her previous season-high of 24 points with 26. Chaifetz Arena was satisfied, too, as 1,513 fans filled the stadium to give SLU their highest attendance of the season.

With a strong finish to the nonconference season, the Billikens plunged into the new year and conference play with a home game against George Mason on Jan. 2.

SLU dug themselves a hole with a 17-8 deficit in the first quarter. They fell to a double-digit gap at halftime, 37-25.

The Billikens have a trend of strong third quarters, and the same was true in this game. They went on to lead 57-50 with five minutes remaining in the game. George Mason came up big when it counted and tied the game at 59 with a 9-2 spurt.

The Patriots dominated overtime, swinging the momentum in their direction with a three-point play at the opening of extra time. They won 73-63.

The loss to George Mason did not get the Billikens down, as they knew they had a chance to redeem themselves on Jan. 7 at VCU. Despite VCU’s six-game winning streak going into the game, SLU captured the win, 77-72.

The game was close from the start, but VCU took the first quarter lead and went into halftime ahead at 37-34.

VCU took the advantage in the beginning of the third quarter by inching ahead 44-37, but Stipanovich sunk a three-pointer to start a 15-2 run that put SLU ahead, 52-46.

SLU took the momentum into the final period of play, with a 7-1 run to go eventually up 71-63 with three minutes remaining to play. The Rams were hot on their heels and came within one point with 15 seconds remaining. However, Kemph’s composure at the free throw line sealed the deal when she put away two shots.

SLU sat at 1-1 on the conference as they traveled to Davidson, North Carolina to play Davidson on Jan. 10.

Davidson and SLU both showed promise in the first quarter, but Davidson took the first quarter with a 19-18 lead in the end.

This lead did not faze the Billikens at all. SLU trumped Davidson with a huge 17-0 spurt at the start of the second quarter. This gave them the opportunity to take a large halftime lead, 43-30.

A 15-2 run in the third quarter put the Billikens ahead 62-38, and the rest was history. The Billikens won 79-50 to move up to 2-1 in conference play.

SLU welcomed UMass to Chaifetz on Jan. 13.  The Billikens led the entirety of the first quarter, but UMass kept it tight, only giving the Bills a 16-14 lead.

The women went on a 10-point run to dominate going into halftime.  They racked up 22 more points in the third quarter alone.  SLU led by 14 or more points for the remainder of the game.  They took the victory 69-49 to rise to 13-4 overall.

The Billikens are hosting Dayton for their pink-out game this Saturday, Jan. 16. All jerseys will be auctioned off that evening, and all money raised will go to the Saint Louis University Cancer Center. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for the 7 p.m. tipoff.