SLU, FORDHAM SQUARE OFF IN A-10 OPENER THURSDAY – Saint Louis (5-8) begins its ninth season of Atlantic 10 Conference competition Thursday, Jan. 2, against Fordham (11-2) in Bronx, N.Y. Tip time at Rose Hill Gym is 6 p.m. (CT).
FOLLOWING THE ACTION – The SLU-Fordham game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network. There will be no online video stream, but free live statistics are available. The live-stats link can be found in the schedule boxes located just below the main photo on www.SLUBillikens.com. Also, updates are provided on Billiken women’s basketball’s official Twitter account, @SLU_WBB.
BILLIKEN LEADERS – Erin Nelson tops the Saint Louis scoring chart with 14.5 points per game, followed by Desirae Ball (12.8 ppg), Jamesia Price (8.9 ppg), Sadie Stipanovich (8.8 ppg), Olivia Jakubicek (6.3 ppg) and Denisha Womack (6.1 ppg). Stipanovich tops the SLU rebounding list with a 7.7 average that includes 3.8 offensive boards per game. Jakubicek and Womack average 6.9 and 5.6 caroms, respectively. Price leads the Billikens in assists (3.8 apg) and steals (1.7 spg). Saint Louis shoots a solid .727 from the foul line, led by Ball (.885), Womack (.821) and Nelson (.804).
LAST TIME OUT – Desirae Ball scored a game-high 15 points and Olivia Jakubicek grabbed a game- and career-high 13 rebounds, but Holy Cross hit a shot at the buzzer and defeated Saint Louis 51-49 in the consolation game of Iowa State’s Cyclone Challenge Dec. 29. Jakubicek and Sadie Stipanovich narrowly missed double-doubles. Jakubicek, who had a game- and career-high seven offensive rebounds, scored nine points and added four assists. Stipanovich tallied 10 points and nine boards, including five of the Bills’ 17 offensive caroms. Jamesia Price collected eight points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals. Ball and Erin Nelson gathered six rebounds apiece to help the Billikens earn a 45-40 advantage on the glass.
HEAD COACH LISA STONE – Second-year Billiken head coach Lisa Stone owns a 520-264 record (17-27 at SLU) in her 28th year as a collegiate head coach. Before arriving at Saint Louis, Stone was 128-119 in eight seasons at Wisconsin, 64-27 in three years at Drake, 277-59 in 12 campaigns at Wisconsin-Eau Claire and 34-32 in three seasons at Cornell (Iowa). She is joined on the sideline by three assistants in their first seasons at SLU – Mike Geary, Kristy Guffey and Linda Sayavongchanh.
SCOUTING FORDHAM – The Rams bring a 10-game winning streak into Thursday’s contest. Senior guard Erin Rooney, who garnered first-team All-Conference honors last season, leads Fordham in scoring (19.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.9 rpg). Senior guard Abigail Corning follows with 12.1 ppg and 7.2 rpg to go with a team-high 5.4 assists per game, while freshman guard Hannah Missry has a 10.2 scoring average and a team-high 36 3-pointers. Fordham leads the A-10 in scoring defense (55.4 ppg), field goal percentage (.456) and 3-point field goal percentage (.381) and ranks second in 3-point field goals (7.6 per game). The Rams finished third in the A-10 regular-season standings and second at the A-10 Championship last year before reaching the WNIT round of 16.
SERIES HISTORY – Saint Louis owns a 5-4 series lead over Fordham. The Billikens captured five straight after the Rams won the first meeting in the 2005-06 season. Fordham has claimed the last three decisions, including wins in regular-season (61-56 in St. Louis) and A-10 tournament play (65-48, quarterfinals) last year.UP NEXT – The Billikens host A-10 preseason favorite and defending regular-season champion Dayton Sunday at 2 p.m. The game will be televised on NBC Sports Network.