Women take down three top conference competitors

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The women’s basketball team took care of business on their home court, taking down two tough conference competitors, George Washington and Fordham. SLU is now in second place behind Dayton in the current A-10 standings.

George Washington brought their A-game. SLU took the lead in the first quarter with a 9-3 lead, but the Colonials answered with 16 points in the tail end of the period. The Billikens trailed George Washington, 19-16.

However, the women had the momentum going their way as they entered the second quarter. SLU outscored George Washington, 11-2, in the first two minutes of play to take a 23-21 advantage. GW walked into the locker room with the upper hand, leading 32-29.

SLU battled through a tough third quarter and through nine lead changes between teams. SLU found the hoop last, however, taking a 48-46 lead going into the last quarter of play.

The Billiken defense buckled down in the beginning of the fourth quarter, only allowing two points in five minutes. A back-to-back 3-point play and 3-pointer from sophomore guard Jordyn Frantz allowed the Billikens to put the nails in the coffin, taking a 56-48 lead. Sophomore guard Kerri McMahan also finished two critical free throws to push the lead to 62-55 with two minutes.

George Washington found a slight spark at the end of the game, putting in two baskets with 30 seconds left. The Colonials came within three, but more Billiken free throws squandered their chances. SLU came away victorious, 67-59.

Turnovers were critical to this matchup. Both teams conceded 18 turnovers, but SLU was able to capitalize on the chances more efficiently. They outscored George Washington, 24-11, in points off turnovers.

Head coach Lisa Stone commented on the game. “We had some people step up when we needed them to. We needed this one. When you’re at home, you have to protect your home court, and we did enough to hang on.”

Kemph also discussed the defense and shift in momentum in the second half. “We just weren’t being ourselves. We all knew it needed to be better. Coach Stone got on us, so our defense picked up in the second half.”

SLU remained at home to face Fordham in their annual Billikens Pink Out Game and drew a crowd of 6,157. The women won handily, 82-58. While Fordham was towards the top of the rankings in the A-10, SLU had no problem dominating the squad by almost 30 points.

Frantz opened up the game by sinking a 3-pointer on the first possession. SLU led, 12-2, after just three minutes of play, and drew ahead, 23-13. Fordham came out stronger in the second quarter when they scored the first five points, but SLU took the permanent lead and finished the half with a 9-0 spurt to lead, 39-29.

SLU continued to dominate offensively in the second half as well as frustrating Fordham’s attack to win the game.

The women shot 50 percent from behind the arc, their best in an A-10 game this season. The Billikens put on an impressive defensive performance as well. They held the Rams to 36.1 percent overall and 10 percent from the 3-point line.

Senior center Sadie Stipanovich put up 22 points, the game-high. She moved into fourth place on SLU’s career scoring list with 1,395 points.

The SLU women continued their domination of conference opponents with an 81-60 drubbing of Massachusetts. Junior guard Jenny Vliet and Frantz led the team in scoring with 16 points each. Meanwhile, Kemph was just behind with 14 points, and Stipanovich also contributed 14 points. Stipanovich’s 14 points came alongside 10 rebounds, giving her a double-double for the game.

SLU will hope to continue their offensive explosions as they continue to cruise through conference play. Next up for the Billikens will be home Atlantic 10 games against St. Joseph’s and Virginia Commonwealth.