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Desirae Ball scored 13 points, including the game-winning basket.
Courtesy: Saint Louis Athletics

Second-Half Surge Lifts Billikens Past Richmond

Courtesy: Saint Louis Athletics
          Release: 01/23/2013
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RICHMOND, Va. - Saint Louis outscored Richmond 23-11 over the final 9:18 of the game and defeated the Spiders 52-49 Wednesday afternoon in an Atlantic 10 Conference contest at the Robins Center.

Saint Louis improved to 8-11 overall and evened its A-10 record at 2-2. The victory was the Billikens' fourth road triumph this season, one more than the past two years combined. SLU has four road wins for the first time since the 2008-09 Bills finished with five.

The victory also snapped a four-game losing streak against Richmond, which fell to 11-9 overall and 1-3 in the A-10.

Desirae Ball tied for game-high honors and equaled her season high with 13 points. Ball was 6-of-10 from the floor, and her bucket with 10 seconds to play snapped a 49-all tie.

Jacy Bradley (5-of-9 FG) scored 12 points, while Lorreal Jones recorded her second double-double of the season with 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Mallory Eggert and Halee Castleman added eight and seven rebounds, respectively, as the Billikens earned a 40-34 advantage on the glass.

Kristina King led Richmond with 13 points and a game-high three steals.

Saint Louis enjoyed a significant advantage at the free-throw line, outscoring Richmond 13-4.

"I'm extremely proud of our team's effort against a really tough Richmond team on the road," head coach Lisa Stone said. "We responded very well to our game plan. Defensively, we had one of our best games of the year.

"I give our team a lot of credit. Being down by nine in the second half, we could have folded but we didn't. We found a way to get defensive stops and chip away, and we executed down the stretch."

Except for a 2-2 tie, the Billikens led the entire first half. SLU's largest margin of the opening period was six points, 22-16, but a late Richmond field goal made it 22-18 Saint Louis at the break.

That basket was the beginning of a 22-7 Richmond run that resulted in a 38-29 advantage for the Spiders midway through the second half.

The Billikens began their comeback with a Castleman free throw at the 9:18 mark. Denisha Womack hit a jumper, and Bradley followed with a steal and layup to cut the Richmond lead to 38-34.

After the Spiders halted a three-minute scoring drought with a basket, the Billikens got a short jumper from Bradley, a free throw from Ball and a layup from Jones to make it a one-point game, 40-39. Richmond scored to go back on top by three, but SLU answered with a layup by Eggert and a jumper by Ball to reclaim the lead, 43-42, with 3:04 remaining.

King's 3-pointer with 2:05 left gave Richmond a 47-45 lead. Jones missed a shot on SLU's next possession but grabbed the rebound, was fouled, and sank two from the stripe to tie it at 47. Bradley's basket with 41 seconds left put the Billikens in front 49-47.

King responded with a jumper in the lane 12 seconds later. Following a SLU timeout, Ball came through with what proved to be the game-winning shot. Richmond missed a potential game-tying attempt, and Eggert's free throw with two seconds left accounted for the final score.

"Desirae made a big play at the end of the game," Stone said. "I thought she and Jacy played very courageously, both playing nearly the whole game. Jacy had a big steal that I think was one of the big momentum shifts for us.

"We played with resiliency, overcame adversity on the road and came away with a big A-10 road win. I'm very proud of our team."

The Billikens return to Chaifetz Arena to host Charlotte Sunday, Jan. 27. Tip time is 1 p.m.
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