THIS WEEK - No. 11 seed Saint Louis (10-19, 4-10 A-10) will take on No. 6 Charlotte (16-12, 8-6) Friday, March 2, in the opening round of the 2012 Buick Atlantic 10 Conference Women's Basketball Championship. The Billikens and 49ers will tip at 6:30 p.m. (CT) at Hagan Arena on the campus of Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. The winner advances to Saturday's quarterfinal round to face No. 3 Dayton (20-6, 12-2) at 6:30 p.m. (CT).
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION - Please visit www.atlantic10.com for complete A-10 Championship information. A splash page containing links to Championship Central, ticket information, live video streaming and the A-10 women's basketball home page will appear. The Championship Central page contains the tournament schedule and will be updated with stories and statistics from each game. It also features links for the championship bracket, directions to Hagan Arena, hotel information, the Saint Joseph's University visitor's guide (including nearby dining choices and rental car information) and VisitPhilly.com.
FOLLOWING THE ACTION - Live statistics for all Atlantic 10 Championship games are available free of charge on GameTracker, and all first-round and quarterfinal games will be video streamed live on the Internet free of charge. These features can be accessed on the Championship Central page. CBS Sports Network will air the semifinal games, and Monday's championship contest will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN3.
TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE - In addition to the Saint Louis-Charlotte contest, first-round games Friday (all times Central) match No. 8 La Salle (13-16, 7-7) vs. No. 9 Xavier (8-19, 5-9) at 10:30 a.m.; No. 5 Saint Joseph's (19-9, 9-5) vs. No. 12 Fordham (12-17, 3-11) at 1:30 p.m.; and No. 7 Duquesne (19-10, 7-7) vs. No. 10 George Washington (11-17, 4-10) at 4 p.m. Saturday's quarterfinals are scheduled for 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Joining Dayton with byes into the quarterfinals are No. 1 St. Bonaventure (27-2, 14-0), No. 2 Temple (20-8, 13-1) and No. 4 Richmond (22-7, 9-5). The semifinals are set for Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., while Monday's title game, which determines the league's automatic NCAA Tournament representative, tips at 4 p.m.
SLU IN THE A-10 CHAMPIONSHIP - Saint Louis owns a 1-4 record in the A-10 Championship. The Billikens' lone win in the tournament was a 69-61 victory as the No. 11 seed over No. 6 Richmond in 2007. SLU was edged 64-63 by No. 3 Xavier in the quarterfinals.
BALL GARNERS THIRD A-10 WEEKLY HONOR - Desirae Ball was named A-10 Rookie of the Week for a third time Feb. 27. Ball averaged 10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.5 assists in SLU's two games last week. She scored nine points - including the game-winning shot in overtime - collected five rebounds and tied career highs with three assists and three steals in a 70-69 win over Charlotte Feb. 22. Ball tallied 12 points, tied career highs with six rebounds and three steals and added two assists in a 64-61 overtime loss at Fordham Feb. 26.
ABOUT THE BILLIKENS - Courtney Webb leads the Billikens with an 11.1 scoring average. Desirae Ball averages 9.2 points, followed by Lorreal Jones (8.4 ppg), Mallory Eggert (7.6 ppg) and Janisha Gearlds (6.7 ppg). Jones leads the club in rebounding (7.8 rpg), followed by Eggert (6.9 rpg). Gearlds (4.1 apg) leads the squad in assists, Jamesia Price (36) is the leader in steals, and Kim Bee has a team-high 32 blocks. The Billikens are +5.0 in rebounding margin and average 15.4 offensive rebounds.
LAST WEEK - Desirae Ball hit a driving layup with two seconds left in overtime to give the Bills a 70-69 win over Charlotte Feb. 22 at Chaifetz Arena. Courtney Webb (4-of-9 in 3-point shooting) tossed in 18 points to lead Saint Louis, which shot 45.9 percent from the floor. Mallory Eggert had 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds, Lorreal Jones collected 10 points and seven rebounds, and Janisha Gearlds chalked up 10 points and a game-high six assists. Ball tallied nine points and five rebounds and tied career highs with three assists and three steals, while Jamesia Price registered four assists. In a 64-61 overtime loss at Fordham Feb. 26, Gearlds tied her career high with 19 points on 9-of-14 shooting and had a game-high five assists. Ball tossed in 12 points and tied her career highs with six rebounds and a game-high three steals. Jenna Mueller gathered a career- and game-high nine rebounds, and Eggert collected seven boards (game-high five offensive) as the Bills gained a 33-32 edge on the glass. Morgan Johnson tied her career best with four assists. Saint Louis, which battled back from a 41-23 deficit early in the second half, shot a season-high 48.1 percent from the field, including 58.1 percent in the second half and overtime.
A LOOK AT CHARLOTTE - The 49ers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 77-62 win over Richmond in Sunday's regular-season finale. Charlotte leads the A-10 in rebounding margin (+6.9), blocks (5.2 bpg) and free-throw attempts (20.5 pg). Jennifer Hailey (14.0 ppg) and Epiphany Woodson (12.9 ppg) are the 49ers' leading scorers. Hailey (9.4 rpg) and Amanda Dowe (9.0 rpg) are 1-2 in the conference in rebounding and are tied for the league lead in offensive rebounding (3.6 orpg). Ny Hammonds leads the team in assists (3.8 apg), while Hillary Sigmon shoots 47.8 percent (33-of-69) from 3-point range. The 49ers lead the series 21-7, including 11-3 since the teams joined the A-10. The Billikens' 70-69 overtime victory last week at Chaifetz Arena halted the 49ers' three-game series winning streak.
BILLS, 49ERS SPLIT SEASON SERIES - Saint Louis and Charlotte split their season series this year, with the 49ers winning 61-52 in Charlotte Jan. 11 and SLU claiming a 70-69 overtime triumph in St. Louis Feb. 22. Jacy Bradley (16 points) and Morgan Johnson (11 points) led the Bills in the first meeting. In the rematch, Courtney Webb (four 3-pointers) tallied 18 points and was joined in double figures by Mallory Eggert (11 points), Lorreal Jones (10 points) and Janisha Gearlds (10 points). Eggert and Gearlds led with eight rebounds and six assists, respectively.
A LOOK AT DAYTON - Dayton, the A-10 preseason co-favorite with Temple, finished the regular season on a four-game winning streak after being edged 56-55 by St. Bonaventure. Justine Raterman, a first-team All-Conference selection last season, leads UD in scoring (14.7 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg) and is followed by Andrea Hoover (10.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg). Patrice Lalor averages 4.6 assists and leads the conference with a 2.2 assist-turnover ratio. The Flyers lead the A-10 in scoring (71.5 ppg). The Flyers lead the series 19-6, including a 9-0 mark when the teams have met as Atlantic 10 Conference members.
LEADS BILLIKENS AT DAYTON - Lorreal Jones posted 13 points and eight rebounds in the Bills'
72-54 regular-season loss at Dayton Feb. 18. Desirae Ball scored 11 points, Mallory
Eggert grabbed eight rebounds and Janisha Gearlds picked up six assists.
GEARLDS ADDING TO RECORD - Janisha Gearlds has played in a program-record 118 games and has started 110 contests. Gearlds' 367 career assists are good for third place on the Saint Louis list. Her career-high 119 helpers this year rank fourth on the Bills' season list for seniors and sixth on SLU's overall season chart. Gearlds' career-high 10 assists vs. UMass made her one of only three A-10 players to record a double-digit assist total this season. She is fourth on SLU's career steals list with 152.
BILLIKENS IN THE NATIONAL STATISTICS - Through games of Feb. 26, Saint Louis ranks 42nd in rebounding margin (+5.0) and 84th in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.287).
BILLIKENS IN THE A-10 STATISTICS (ALL GAMES) - In all games, Saint Louis leads the A-10 in offensive rebounding (15.4 orpg) and ranks second in rebounding margin (+5.0), fourth in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.287), sixth in 3-point field goal percentage (.314) and seventh in free-throw attempts (16.2 pg). Lorreal Jones is sixth in rebounding (7.8 rpg) and ninth in offensive rebounding (2.6 orpg), while Mallory Eggert is tied for fourth in offensive rebounding (2.9 orpg) and 11th in rebounding (6.9 rpg). Janisha Gearlds is fourth in assists (4.1 apg), and Kim Bee is tied for ninth in blocks (1.1 bpg).
BILLIKENS IN THE A-10 STATISTICS (CONFERENCE GAMES) - In league games only, SLU finished fourth in offensive rebounding (13.1 orpg) and rebounding margin (+3.4), sixth in 3-point field goal percentage (.344) and tied for sixth in steals (7.1 spg). Mallory Eggert was fifth in field goal percentage (.535), tied for sixth in offensive rebounding (2.8 orpg) and 12th in rebounding (6.6 rpg). Courtney Webb was sixth in 3-point field goal percentage (.387) and tied for sixth in 3-point field goals per game (1.7). Janisha Gearlds was fourth in assists (4.1 apg), and Lorreal Jones was 11th in rebounding (6.8 rpg).
CONSECUTIVE OT GAMES A RARITY - Last week's overtime games vs. Charlotte and Fordham marked only the second time SLU women's basketball has played consecutive OT contests. The first time was Jan. 24 and 26, 2003, vs. DePaul (win) and Marquette (loss).
JONES, WEBB APPROACHING TOP-10 LISTS - Lorreal Jones and Courtney Webb are closing in on SLU's all-time season top 10 for rebounds and 3-point field goals, respectively. Jones has 227 rebounds and needs one carom to make the top 10. With 45 treys, Webb is six shy of cracking the top 10.
CLASS(Y) REBOUNDERS - Lorreal Jones is tied for fifth on the Saint Louis season chart for rebounds by a sophomore with 227. Jones needs only two boards to take over third place. Mallory Eggert has 200 rebounds and would claim fifth place on the season list for juniors with three more and fourth place with four more.
FINDING THE MARK - The Billikens have produced much better shooting performances since getting off to a slow start. After connecting on just 31.8 percent from the field in its first eight games, Saint Louis has shot 41.2 percent over its last 21 outings. The Bills have registered shooting marks of .462, .459 and a season-high .481 against Dayton, Charlotte and Fordham, respectively, in their last three games for a combined .467.
DIALING LONG DISTANCE - The Billikens have been more prolific from 3-point range in recent outings. After averaging just 2.3 treys in its first 12 games, SLU has connected for 64 3-pointers (64-of-178, .360) in its last 17 contests, a 3.8 average.
JONES, EGGERT AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS IN REBOUNDING CATEGORY - Lorreal Jones is tied for fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference in double-digit-rebound games, and Mallory Eggert is tied for eighth. Jones has corralled 10 or more boards nine times this season, boosting her career total to 18. Eggert has six double-digit efforts (12 career).
ON A ROLL FROM THE STRIPE - Lorreal Jones has made 39 of her last 49 free-throw attempts (.796). That streak includes 7-of-7 vs. Nebraska-Omaha, her second perfect effort with at least seven attempts from the stripe this year, and 8-of-9 vs. Rhode Island. Earlier this season, Jones was 8-of-8 vs. Missouri.
DOUBLE VISION - Lorreal Jones notched her fifth double-double of the year, tying for fourth in the A-10, with 13 points and 13 rebounds vs. Duquesne. Jones' other double-doubles came vs. Missouri (career-high 19 points, 14 rebounds), at Murray State (11 points, 11 rebounds), at Wisconsin (13 points, career-high 16 rebounds) and vs. La Salle (13 points, 11 rebounds). Mallory Eggert is tied for 12th in the A-10 with three double-doubles, achieved in consecutive games - at Florida Atlantic (14 points, 14 rebounds), vs. Missouri-St. Louis (11 points, 11 rebounds) and vs. Drake (11 points, 10 rebounds).
20-20 VISION - Courtney Webb's 21-point performance vs. Massachusetts was her fifth scoring output of 20 or more points this season, tying her for fifth in the A-10 in 20-point games. Webb scored a career-high 23 points vs. UMKC, 21 at Memphis, 20 at Illinois-Chicago and 20 at Murray State.
CRASHING THE GLASS - Lorreal Jones and Mallory Eggert were two of the Atlantic 10 Conference's best offensive rebounders last year, ranking third (3.6 orpg) and 11th (2.6 orpg) in the league, respectively. They have picked up where they left off as Eggert averages 2.9 offensive boards and Jones collects 2.6 this season. SLU averages 15.4 offensive rebounds, including a season-high 31 vs. Missouri.
MORE FROM THE BOARDS - Saint Louis is +5.0 in rebounding margin and has earned an advantage in 24 of its 29 games - +9 at Memphis, +7 vs. Southeast Missouri State, +19 vs. Missouri, +1 at Illinois-Chicago, +4 vs. UT Martin, +12 vs. Murray State, +2 at Murray State, +12 at Wisconsin, +23 vs. Missouri-St. Louis, +4 vs. Drake, +1 vs. UMKC, +5 vs. Eastern Michigan, +2 vs. Saint Francis, +5 vs. Nebraska-Omaha, +12 vs. La Salle, +4 at St. Bonaventure, +7 vs. Rhode Island, +11 at George Washington, +1 at Xavier, +20 vs. Duquesne, +1 vs. Temple, +7 vs. Massachusetts, +8 at Dayton and +1 at Fordham. The Billikens tied Saint Joseph's on the glass.
GET THAT OUTTA HERE - When Kim Bee blocked five shots against Murray State Nov. 26, it marked the first time a Billiken had tallied at least five blocks since April McKinney rejected six shots against Dayton Dec. 2, 2000. Bee had four blocks in the season opener at Memphis and four against Massachusetts. With 32 blocks, she ranks second on SLU's season list for juniors and is tied for seventh on the Bills' overall season list.
BILLIKENS COLLECT WEEKLY HONORS - Desirae Ball was selected A-10 Rookie of the Week for Jan. 2-8, Feb. 6-12 and Feb. 20-26. Jacy Bradley was named to the Jesuit Basketball Spotlight Honor Roll for Dec. 26-Jan. 1 after earning All-Tournament accolades at Seattle University's Washington Dental Service Holiday Hoops Tournament. Mallory Eggert was named Performer of the Week by Pickin Splinters, a website that covers Atlantic 10 Conference and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference basketball, for Dec. 5-11.INJURY SIDELINES BRADLEY - Jacy Bradley is out for the remainder of the season after sustaining a knee injury late in the Charlotte game Jan. 11. Bradley averaged 8.6 points, 3.1 assists and 1.1 steals. In her final five games, she averaged a team-high 12.8 points while shooting 50 percent (26-of-52) from the field overall and 56.3 percent (9-of-16) from 3-point range.