Women demolish UMass, advance to A-10 quarters

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The women’s basketball team started their post-season competition on Feb. 26 in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament. The women, slotted as the fourth seed, hosted the No. 13 seed, UMass, in a 2 p.m. game at Chaifetz Arena. The Billikens brought the heat, defeating UMass, 91-51, and securing a spot in the A-10 quarterfinals against Fordham on March 3 at 1 p.m. in Richmond, Va.

SLU struggled to get the ball rolling at the onset of the first quarter. The women fell behind, 10-9, at the halfway mark, but their offense kicked things into gear to go on a 7-0 run and take the lead after the first 10 minutes, 16-10.

The Bills took this momentum going into the second quarter. Junior guard Jenny Vliet sunk a 3-pointer to give the women their first double-digit lead, 24-13, three minutes into the period. UMass attempted to fight their way back to a smaller margin, but junior forward Maddison Gits earned the basket that put SLU ahead by double digits for the rest of the game.

SLU tripled their points in the second quarter alone, ending the half with a 48-25 upper hand.

As if scoring 32 points in one quarter wasn’t enough, the women put 70 points on the board after just three quarters. They led 70-40 going into the final period and had no problem shutting out UMass, ending their season with a 9-21 record.

SLU’s offensive frenzy shattered a few numbers in SLU’s record book. The women scored 12 3-pointers to give them a total of 210 for the season, breaking the record of 205, set by the 2015-16 squad. The 40-point gap in the final score is SLU’s largest ever versus an A-10 team. Their 32-point second quarter is the second-highest total in any quarter this season. The win by double figures is the 18th of the season, which also extended the team’s record. SLU’s bench was a major part of their success in this game, totaling 37 points to UMass’s unfortunate zero point contribution from their reserves.

The lead changed only three times between the teams. The women were 52.2 percent from behind the arc and 55.6 percent from the field overall.

Defensively, the women had a season high of 10 blocked shots and 13 steals.

Several individuals showed promise for the rest of the post season. Junior guard Jackie Kemph earned the game high of 20 points, four steals and nine assists. She now sits at eighth in points with 1,311, fourth in free throws made with 324 and ninth in 3-pointers with 111. Redshirt sophomore guard Kerrie McMahan tallied 13 points, establishing her season high versus an A-10 opponent.

Vliet earned SLU’s season high of five blocks and contributed 11 points. Gits racked up 10 points, her season high against an A-10 team, and produced career highs in assists with four and blocks with two. Senior forward Olivia Jakubicek had the game high for offensive rebounds with five, and redshirt junior guard Paige Rakers had a career high of three assists.

Sophomore guard Jordyn Frantz totaled 10 points and six assists, and senior Erin Nelson was 2-of-3 from 3-point range to tally six points.

The women will take on Fordham in the quarterfinals. The semifinals are set for 10 a.m. on March 4, and the A-10 championship game is scheduled for 11 a.m. on March 5.