Billikens Enjoy Record-Setting Win at Valpo, 53-47
VALPARAISO, Ind. - Courtney Webb and Lorreal Jones scored a game-high 15 points apiece, and Mallory Eggert registered a second consecutive double-double to lead Saint Louis to a 53-47 victory over Valparaiso Saturday afternoon at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
For the first time in program history, the Billikens (3-4) have limited four consecutive opponents to fewer than 50 points. SLU has allowed an average of 45.3 points in its last four outings.
Eggert tallied 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, matching the team's season high. Jacy Bradley posted a career- and game-high eight assists, and Desirae Ball notched a game- and career-high five steals.
Tabitha Gerardot led Valparaiso (2-5) with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Saint Louis was out-rebounded (38-33) for just the second time this season, but the Billikens offset that by committing a season-low 11 turnovers. The Bills forced 16 Valparaiso miscues and earned a 21-7 advantage in points off turnovers. In addition, SLU outscored Valpo 11-2 from the free-throw line and 24-12 in the paint.
"I'm very proud of our team's resiliency, coming back after a tough home loss Thursday night to get a win on the road," head coach Lisa Stone said. "We responded with an unbelievable focus on defense, a season-low 11 turnovers and balanced scoring.
"To go on the road and get a win after a really tough loss says a lot about the character of our players. We're getting better."
Valpo scored on three of its first four possessions for a 6-0 lead, and the Crusaders went on to lead by 11 points twice in the first half, the latter occasion a 27-16 cushion with 3:29 left.
But SLU closed the gap to 27-22 at halftime on a Jones jumper, two Eggert free throws and Eggert's offensive rebound and layup. The Bills extended the run to 10-0 on their first two second-half possessions as Webb hit a pair of buckets, and it was 27-26 Valpo.
The teams traded baskets twice before Ball's baseline jumper put the Billikens on top for the first time, 32-31. Valpo regained the lead at 34-32 before Jones and Halee Castleman sank two free throws apiece to put SLU in front 36-34.
The Crusaders pulled even with a basket following Castleman's free throws. After both teams suffered three consecutive empty possessions, Eggert grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to ignite a 13-3 run that put the Billikens up by 10.
Ball continued the run with a 3-pointer, followed by two Jones free throws and Webb's left-wing jumper from just inside the 3-point arc. A Valpo bucket momentarily slowed the Saint Louis momentum, but two consecutive layups by Eggert finished the SLU flurry and gave SLU its largest advantage, 49-39, at the 3:29 mark.
However, Valpo was not finished. The Crusaders scored on their next three possessions, including two 3-pointers, and suddenly the Saint Louis lead had been whittled to 49-47.
But Jones answered with a long 2-pointer just inside the arc, and the Billiken defense shut out Valpo the rest of the way. Two free throws by Webb with 13 seconds left secured the victory.
"We really need to embrace this feeling of winning and continue to play to win," Stone said. "Focusing on preparation and defensive detail will help us continue improving. If we continue to learn and improve, we'll put ourselves in position to be successful."The Billikens return home to host Illinois-Chicago Monday, Dec. 3. Game time at Chaifetz Arena is 7 p.m.