Women’s basketball sets program win record

The women’s basketball team bounced back from a tough blow last week at St. Bonaventure when they defeated Davidson, 88-51, on Feb. 15.  Not only did this win give them a boost of confidence going into the rest of the season, but it also was the tipping point past some major school records.  They now hold the record for the most total wins and most conference wins in a season with 19 and nine, respectively.

SLU already beat Davidson earlier in the year, 79-50.  However, the Bills had yet to beat the Wildcats at Chaifetz until Feb. 15, giving SLU a lead in the series, 3-1.

The Billikens led the game early on, getting ahead 9-6 at the halfway mark of the first quarter.  A steal and a layup from sophomore guard Jackie Kemph gave the Bills an 11-6 lead.  She turned around to grab a rebound on the next play, and sophomore guard Aaliyah Covington put down a jumper on the resulting possession to put SLU ahead, 13-6.  Back to back three-pointers and a pair of free throws helped the Billikens dominate the first quarter, 23-12.

Both teams came out in the second quarter rather slow offensively.  Sophomore Maddison Gits finally threw in a layup at 8:27.  Senior center Denisha Womack followed her with a steal and a layup on Davidson’s next possession.  Gits gathered two more baskets over the next few minutes to put SLU ahead, 31-12, at 6:04.

Davidson scored their first points of the second quarter at 4:58 when they earned a pair of free throws.  They went on to score  11 points in the remainder of the quarter, but the Bills outscored them in the same amount of time with 13 points.  The Billikens led at halftime with a comfortable lead, 46-24.

Womack started things off in the third quarter with a layup and a three-pointer in the first 90 seconds of play.  The Wildcats moved slightly closer in the beginning of the third quarter with two field goals and two layups, but the Billikens kept the offensive surge going and extended their advantage to 24 points.  Free throws gave SLU an even bigger lead, as they made it a 30-point gap with two minutes to go in the third quarter.  The women took control of the game going into the last quarter, 72-43, giving the Wildcats’ close to no chance to make a comeback in the final ten minutes of play.

The Billikens stayed consistent in the fourth quarter.  They allowed only eight points for the Wildcats to their 16, 11 of which were scored by the Billiken bench.  SLU sealed the win, 88-51.

SLU’s 50.0 field goal percentage nearly doubled that of the Wildcats, who only shot 25.5 percent.  This is the second time they have shot at 50.0 percent or more this season.  The key to the Billikens’ large second-quarter jump was their bench.  They outscored Davidson’s bench, 16-1.  SLU’s bench scored 47 points overall compared to the Wildcats’ 12 points.  The Billikens also dominated in the paint, outscoring the Wildcats, 44-8.  They also stripped Davidson 11 times, almost passing their season high of 12 steals.

The 37-point victory is the largest this season for the women and marked the fourth win by 30 or more points for them this year.  The staggering 88 points made for their highest scoring game in the conference.  The Bills had a high of 23 assists, which tied their season high in the Atlantic-10.

The Billikens also excelled individually.  Kemph recorded her fourth double-double of the season and her fifth overall, with 19 points and 14 assists.  Covington also had 19 points.  Gits scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds, and Womack registered 11 points for the Bills.  Senior guard Jamesia Price inched closer to the leader of most career steals at SLU.  She needs only three more to steal the top spot.

With this impressive performance after a tough loss against St. Bonaventure, the Billikens are prepared to take on the A-10 co-leader Duquesne on Feb. 18 at home, then they will travel to Fordham on Feb. 21.