Women’s basketball defeats Dayton in front of record crowd of 9,985, achieves 5-1 record

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Women’s basketball defeats Dayton in front of record crowd of 9,985, achieves 5-1 record

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The women’s basketball team wowed a crowd of 9,985 on Jan. 16 at their Pink Out game against rival Dayton, winning 70-56.  The Bills had four straight wins under their belt and gave Dayton their third straight loss of the season.

SLU jumped on the lead early with a 6-0 run in the first quarter.  Back-to-back three pointers and a jumper gave the women an 11-5 lead to successfully take the first quarter 13-10, despite Dayton’s late run in the last two minutes.

The Flyers played a little tighter in the second quarter, staying close behind the Billiken’s lead the entire ten minutes.  They snatched a lead once midway through the quarter with a three-pointer, but sophomore guard Aaliyah Covington answered with another three-pointer after nearly three minutes of scoreless basketball to put the Billikens up again, 21-19.
The first half of play closed at 24-23 in favor of the Billikens.  SLU scored 11 points in the third quarter, and nine of those points came from their bench, while only a single point was scored by their bench players out of their 13 points in the first quarter.

Nothing seems to be changing for the Billikens’  play in the third quarter, as they always come to life when it rolls around — the same was true for this game.  Senior center Denisha Womack sunk two three-pointers early on to push SLU’s 14-3 run in the crucial first five minutes of the second half.  This was their first double-digit lead, 38-28.

The women racked up ten more points during the remainder of the quarter, and the Flyers could only come within nine points by the end of the third.

The fourth quarter continued steadily for both teams, with a 58-46 Billiken lead with 4:35 left in the game.  Another trend for the Billikens continued, as they sunk nine of their 14 free throws in the last 90 seconds of play.  Despite Dayton’s efforts, they could not come within even ten of the Billikens, and SLU took the victory, 70-56.

Standout Covington had the most successful game of her career with a career-high of 21 points, which was also a game-high.  She was later named Atlantic 10 Conference women’s basketball Player of the Week by College Sports Madness.  Senior guard Jamesia Price scored 13 points.

As a team, more records continue to be smashed, a norm for the Billikens this season.  They are now 5-1 in conference for the first time in history.  They have a whopping ten victories by ten or more points this year alone.  The women had 17 offensive rebounds and had a 22-7 upper hand in points from turnovers.

The women continued into Wednesday night searching for their fifth consecutive victory.  They traveled to Philadelphia to face the Saint Joseph’s Hawks on Jan. 20.

Saint Joseph’s returned three starters from their 10th place team last season.  They had a three-game winning streak before losing to Fordham on Sunday, Jan. 17.  They keep the ball well, as the team leads the A-10 and ranks 13th in the nation in fewest turnovers, 12.6 per game.

SLU was looking to slowly reverse their losing record that they had against the Hawks.  Saint Joseph’s leads the series 8-3, but the Bills have won the past two meetings.  However, the Hawks lead 5-1 in games on their home court.  Last year, SLU took the victory in a buzzer beater by Sadie Stipanovich.

Their previous matchups proved to be the same when the game started.  Neither team had more than a three-point lead for the entirety of the first quarter.

SLU finally took the first big lead in the beginning of the second quarter to get the momentum going.  They went on a 6-0 run, with sophomore Jackie Kemph leading the way.  A Covington layup gave the Bills their first double-digit lead at 39-29.  Covington had another three-pointer to make the gap even larger, 44-31.

From there, the Billikens kept a substantial lead and went into halftime at a comfortable score of 46-33.

In the third, the Hawks struggled to get any closer than ten points until about halfway through the quarter, when St. Joseph’s came within nine points after a jumper.  Some crucial free throws and layups gave the Billikens a cushion and confidence going into the last ten minutes.

The Hawks stayed within a ten-point range for the majority of the fourth quarter; the Billiken defense never gave them a chance to see victory.  SLU put another win under their belt, 77-66.

The women shot 48.1 percent from the field, but a lower 67.6 percent from the free throw line.  They had a rather low 11 turnovers.

The Billikens clearly put away their chances and were consistent on the offensive side of the ball, as the Hawks shot 95 percent from the free throw line, outrebounded the Bills 40-34, had two more steals than SLU, and also had 11 turnovers.

Kemph had a game-high as well as a career-high 24 points, and Covington followed with 13 points.   Senior guard Jamesia Price had the most assists at 7.

The team is now at 15-4 overall and 5-1 in A-10 conference play.  This is their best conference start in history, and they look to continue their success to go into post-conference play just as strong.

SLU faces La Salle at Chaifetz on Saturday, Jan. 23 with a tipoff set for 7 p.m.  The Billikens will be chasing their sixth-consecutive conference victory.  They will move away from their typical Wednesday nights to face George Mason next Thursday, Jan. 28 in Fairfax, Virginia. Tipoff will be  at 7 p.m.