MARTIN, Tenn. - Mallory Eggert scored a career-high 17 points and tied for game-high honors with eight rebounds, but the UT Martin guard tandem of Heather Butler and Jasmine Newsome combined for 52 points to lead the Skyhawks to a 78-62 win over the Billikens Thursday night at Skyhawk Arena.
Eggert led four Billikens in double figures. Lorreal Jones scored 11 points, grabbed eight boards and registered a career-high five assists. Desirae Ball and Courtney Webb netted 10 points apiece, and Ball tied her career high with five assists.
Jacy Bradley had nine points, four rebounds and three assists for Saint Louis (4-5), which posted a season-high point total.
Butler and Newsome scored 28 and 24 points, respectively. Newsome had game highs of nine assists and three steals, while Butler collected seven rebounds to tie Rickiesha Bryant for team-high honors. Shelby Crawford chipped in 10 points and five rebounds.
UT Martin (4-6) shot 50 percent overall and connected on 10-of-26 (38.5 percent) from 3-point range.
Saint Louis earned a 35-28 advantage on the boards, including a season-high 15 offensive rebounds. Eggert led the way with a game-high five offensive caroms. The Bills have out-rebounded seven of nine opponents this season.
The Billikens sank a season-high six 3-pointers (6-of-13, 46.2 percent), led by Bradley's 3-of-5 effort.
"This was a tough loss for us against a very good team," head coach Lisa Stone said. "UT Martin has played an unbelievable schedule, playing Baylor, Stanford, Louisville and Missouri. Butler and Newsome are amazing, two of the best guards in the country. Their team is going to go a long way with them.
"But I'm pleased with our team," Stone said. "I thought we did some good things and had some bright moments. UT Martin had a 12-0 run to end the first half, but prior to that we went on a 15-0 run, so our offense is coming along. We had balanced scoring tonight, which is encouraging, and we beat them on the boards.
"Our team is learning and getting better," Stone said. "There are a lot of positives to take from this game. It won't hurt us; it's going to help us get ready for the A-10 and will help prepare us for teams with good guard play and a good transition game."
UT Martin scored on eight of its first 10 second-half possessions to increase an eight-point halftime lead to 16, 54-38, with 13:27 remaining. A three-point play by Jones cut the SLU deficit to 13, but that was as close as the Billikens would get.
"I need to encourage our players that, when things get tough in the second half, to fight through it and keep pushing," Stone said. "Try to get the lead down to single digits and then cut in. When we hit that time in the second half when the momentum is going the other team's way, to get it back, you have to fight through it.
"The message was received well in the locker room. Our players are all in. So we'll stay positive, keep on moving, take the good from this game and go get the next one."
The first half was defined by three major runs, two by UT Martin and one by Saint Louis.
After Bradley's 3-pointer gave the Billikens a 10-7 lead, the Skyhawks put together an 18-4 flurry to go on top 25-14. Four different UTM players hit a 3-pointer to account for the final 12 points of the run.
SLU answered with a 15-0 outburst, scoring on seven of nine possessions en route to a 29-25 lead. Ball ignited the run with a drive down the lane, followed by an Eggert layup. Ball made a backdoor layup, Jones sank two free throws and Eggert made another layup to pull the Bills to within a point.
Webb buried a trey from the top of the key to give the Bills a 27-25 lead, and Jones completed the run with a runner off the glass.
Saint Louis forced a turnover on UTM's next possession, but the Billikens could not expand the margin. The Skyhawks proceeded to score on their final five possessions of the half in a 12-0 run that gave them a 37-29 cushion at intermission.The Billikens travel to southern Indiana to face Evansville Sunday, Dec. 9, at 1 p.m.