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Women split A-10 series, enter last leg of conference play

Women split A-10 series, enter last leg of conference play

The women lost their third game of A-10 play against Saint Joseph’s on Feb. 3, 66-63. This ended SLU’s four-game winning streak and brought the Hawks and George Washington up to second place in conference standings with the Billikens for a three-way tie.

The Bills began the game strong, taking a 14-6 lead with two minutes left in the first quarter. Junior guard Jenny Vliet tallied 10 points for the Bills, but Saint Joseph’s found a hot streak to come up hot on SLU’s heels, trailing by one point at the end of the period.

The Hawks took the lead in the second quarter on the first possession, 16-15. However junior forward Maddison Gits sparked a four-point lead for SLU, sinking a 3-pointer to make the game 24-20, in favor of the Billikens. Again, Saint Joseph’s found an answer, taking a 28-27 lead going into halftime.

SLU was not shaken up though, coming out in the third quarter with a 42-35 lead halfway through the period. Sophomore guard Jordyn Frantz put together a series of big plays, including a steal, layup and a triple. The pattern of the game persisted with a hot streak by SLU and a response from the Hawks once again. They scored 13 points to SLU’s four to take the upper hand going into the last quarter of play, 48-46.

At the onset of the fourth quarter, it appeared that SLU was still keeping their head in the game. Junior guard Jackie Kemph opened the period up with a layup to tie the game at 50. However, Saint Joseph’s went on a 7-0 spurt to take a 60-53 advantage.

SLU fought their way back to trail by one point, 64-63, with a minute left in the game, but they could not find a way to take charge. They squandered two chances and a 3-point chance to tie in the last seconds, but they were unable to convert on the opportunity. The Bills lost, 66-63.

Kemph led the squad with 17 points and six assists, moving into sixth place on SLU’s career free-throws- made list with 303 and 14th on the school’s career points list with 1,204 after the game. Vliet tied her season high of 16 points, and Frantz also put up 16 points. Senior center Sadie Stipanovich stepped into third place on SLU’s career scoring list with 1,414 points.

Head coach Lisa Stone was not very pleased with her team’s performance against the Hawks. “I thought we lacked a lot of energy in the first half,” she said. “It’s just disappointing to be quite honest. We did better in the second half, but we weren’t getting anything inside and didn’t shoot the ball well. The long and short of it is, we just got beat by a really good team, and it’s on us.”

However, Stone and the rest of the squad are looking ahead to VCU and turning things around at Chaifetz. “We have to have a short-term memory,” Stone said. “You control your own destiny when it comes to this time of year, and unfortunately we didn’t get it done today. We will have to get it done on Wednesday. This time of year, it’s less about who you play and more about who outworks who. We got outworked and outplayed today.”

The women hosted VCU at Chaifetz on Feb. 8 for their first rematch of the season. SLU stayed out front for the first half and emerged victorious despite a second-half spark from the Rams. The Bills won, 77-72.

SLU showed they came to play in the first minutes of the game, not allowing a VCU point until three minutes into the game. With a 12-6 halfway through the quarter, VCU clawed their way back into the game to tie things up at 14 apiece with two minutes left to play. A lay-up from redshirt freshman guard Kerri McMahan and a pair of free throws from  Vliet put the Billikens in the lead at the end of the first period of play, 20-18.

Stipanovich opened the second quarter for the Billikens with back-to-back layups, and Kemph finished her work with a 3-pointer to take a 27-20 lead. Frantz threw up a field goal of her own, drawing a 10-point gap from the Rams with seven minutes left in the quarter.

SLU widened the gap throughout the remainder of the half, with their biggest lead at 15 points, achieved three separate times in the quarter. The teams entered the locker room with a 48-33 Billiken lead.

In the first minutes of the third quarter, SLU did not show mercy. They went on a 7-2 run to set the tone and control the game. The period ended with a pair of VCU free throws to bring the game back to just a 10-point difference between the squads. SLU had the upper hand, 61-51.

The Rams brought out what appeared to be a completely trasformed team in the fourth quarter.  They went on an 8-0 spurt to bring the game within one basket, 61-59. The Rams took their first lead of the game, 64-63, halfway into the quarter and held onto it until the last minute of play. SLU showed their experience and mental toughness when Frantz knocked down a 3-pointer to regain the lead. SLU remained disciplined on defense, not allowing another VCU basket for the rest of the game. Kemph ended the game with three free throws to take the 77-72 victory.

SLU will take to the road for three of their final four regular-season games. They will face St. Bonaventure on Feb. 11 at 12 p.m. in Olean, N.Y.

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