Eggert Powers Billikens Past Florida Atlantic
BOCA RATON, Fla. - Mallory Eggert registered her first double-double of the season, and Saint Louis shot a season-high 47.3 percent from the floor in a 70-63 victory over Florida Atlantic Saturday afternoon at FAU Arena.
The win was the first road triumph of the year for the Billikens (3-6), who scored 70 points for the first time this season and halted a two-game losing skid. Florida Atlantic of the Sun Belt Conference slipped to 3-5.
Eggert scored a career-high 14 points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds (five offensive) to notch her third career double-double and second against Florida Atlantic. She had 11 points and a career-high 16 boards in a 60-52 win over FAU at Chaifetz Arena last season.
Desirae Ball scored a career-high 14 points to go with a career-high three steals, while Janisha Gearlds collected 12 points and a game-high five assists. Jamesia Price also dished out five assists, her career high, as the Billikens posted more assists (16) than turnovers (14) for a second time this season.
FAU, which suffered its fourth straight defeat, got a game-high 17 points from Teri Stamps, 13 points from Kimberly Smith and 10 points from April Goins. Goins and Chenise Miller recorded eight rebounds apiece as the Owls handed the Billikens their first deficit of the season (44-36) on the glass.
"After we lost at Murray State last Saturday, I promised a refocused Billiken team," head coach Shimmy Gray-Miller said. "That's exactly what we've had in the two games since then. FAU is a tough environment to play in, and we knew their athleticism would make it difficult for us. This win is a testament to the maturity and growth we've experienced the past week.
"Our post players came up big for us," Gray-Miller said. "They got us going in the first half and played a huge part in us getting a halftime lead. I'm disappointed that we were outrebounded for the first time this year, but I definitely am not disappointed in the effort."
After leading 30-23 at intermission, Saint Louis opened the second half with a 14-7 surge to forge its largest lead of the game, 44-30, with 13:51 remaining. The Bills scored on seven of nine possessions during the run, which saw five different players score. Ball and Courtney Webb had four points apiece.
Smith hit 3-pointers on two straight possessions to narrow the gap to eight, but the Billikens responded with Gearlds' offensive rebound and layup, Ball's short baseline jumper and a Lorreal Jones layup to make it 50-38 with 11:00 left.
Florida Atlantic outscored SLU 11-3 over the next six minutes and change, and suddenly the Billiken margin had shrunk to four, 53-49, at the 4:43 mark. But Webb nailed a 16-footer from the left wing seconds later to restore order, followed by two Eggert free throws and Ball's backdoor layup from Price that made it 59-51 with 2:42 left.
Neither team scored until a free-throw exchange almost two minutes later. Two free throws by Ball gave SLU a 62-52 cushion with 47 seconds left, but FAU made it a two-possession game, 64-58, on Goins' three-point play with 20 seconds to play.
However, the Billikens held on by going 6-of-6 from the stripe - four by Price and two by Gearlds - in the final 17 ticks.
After a Stamps 3-pointer gave Florida Atlantic a 9-4 lead, SLU scored on six of its next seven possessions in a 14-5 run that put the Billikens on top 18-14.
Webb sparked the run with a 15-foot jumper from the left wing, and Eggert grabbed an offensive rebound and scored. Eggert gathered an errant pass and turned it into an easy bucket, and Jacy Bradley buried a trey from the right wing. Jones' layup and another Bradley 3-pointer concluded the flurry.
Stamps' 3-pointer pulled FAU to within a point, 22-21, at the 6:17 mark, but the Saint Louis defense did not allow another basket the rest of the half. Meanwhile, the Billikens finished the period with an 8-2 spurt. Ball's 18-foot baseline jumper started the run, Eggert scored close to the bucket on two consecutive possessions and Ball connected on a short bank shot. Two late FAU free throws made it 30-23 SLU at the break.Saint Louis begins a three-game homestand Tuesday, Dec. 13, against Missouri-St. Louis. Tip time at Chaifetz Arena is 7 p.m.