ST. LOUIS - Saint Louis trailed Northern Iowa by 20 points in the second half and rallied to pull within three late, but the Billikens eventually fell 73-64 Saturday in a non-conference women's basketball matchup at Chaifetz Arena.
The Billikens, who were without leading scorer and rebounder Lorreal Jones (injury), fell to 5-8. Northern Iowa halted a three-game losing skid and improved to 5-7.
SLU was led by Jacy Bradley's 18 points. Bradley also registered team highs of five assists and two steals, and her seven rebounds were one shy of her career best. She hit a season-high four 3-pointers (4-of-8) to help account for her 18 points.
Mallory Eggert (14 points) and Courtney Webb (13 points) also scored in double figures for the Billikens, who committed a season-low seven turnovers. Webb grabbed seven rebounds and registered a career-high four assists, Denisha Womack collected a career-high six boards, and Halee Castleman tied her season high with eight points.
Northern Iowa was led by Jacqui Kalin's 25 points. Two of Kalin's career-high-tying five treys came in the final minutes with the game still in doubt. She neared a triple-double, tying career highs with nine rebounds and nine assists.
Hannah Schonhardt tallied a career-high 10 rebounds to power UNI to a 39-35 edge on the glass. Jen Keitel had 15 points and eight rebounds, while Brittni Donaldson and Jess McDowell netted 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Saint Louis trailed by 17 points at halftime and was down by 44-24 at the 18:28 mark before a spirited rally brought SLU back into the contest. The Billikens' 42 second-half points are the most scored by the squad in any half this season.
Eggert kick-started an 8-0 run with a pair of free throws at the 12:27 mark of the second half as SLU began chipping away at its deficit. A Webb layup followed by two consecutive Eggert baskets made it 52-44 with 9:47 to go.
Jenna Mueller converted a traditional three-point play between a pair of 3-pointers by UNI to make it 58-47 with 7:44 left. Bradley would score the next five points as SLU put together another 8-0 run and trailed by just three, 58-55, with 3:46 remaining.
But Kalin and UNI responded with a 9-0 run to push the Panthers' margin back into double digits. Northern Iowa was able to hang on to the lead despite a pair of late treys by Bradley.
"In all my 27 years of coaching, I'm not sure I've ever been prouder of a team for the effort our players showed in the second half," head coach Lisa Stone said. "We came into the game banged up, with Lorreal Jones not even here, Mallory Eggert limited to three-minute intervals and Desirae Ball suffering from the flu. Despite all that, we cut a 20-point deficit down to three.
"I am extremely proud of our players and their effort," Stone said. "They responded at halftime and believed they could win. We're getting better. We had a nice crowd today that saw the direction we're heading.
"I certainly commend Northern Iowa," Stone said. "Jacqui Kalin is one of the best shooters I've ever seen. She's ultra smart, and she's a coach on the floor. If the game is on the line, the ball is going to her. I wish them well, but I can't say enough about our players. I'm so proud of them."
UNI drained six first-half treys, including three in the final four minutes of the half, to take a 39-22 advantage into halftime. The teams traded baskets at the start, but an 8-0 Panther rally midway through the half gave them a 19-10 lead.
Eggert halted the run with a layup at 9:29 to bring the Billikens within seven at 19-12. A Webb free throw and Bradley trey made it 21-16 UNI, but the Panthers went on a 7-0 scoring spurt to lead 28-16 with 5:23 to go in the first half.The Billikens have a quick turnaround as they host Winthrop Monday, Dec. 31, at noon at Chaifetz Arena.