Bills Battle No. 12 Dayton Before Falling, 71-61
ST. LOUIS - Courtney Webb led four Saint Louis double-figure scorers with a game-high-tying 16 points, and the Billikens put a scare into 12th-ranked Dayton before falling to the Flyers 71-61 Thursday night at Chaifetz Arena.
SLU slipped to 11-17 overall and 5-8 in the Atlantic 10 Conference, but the Billikens clinched a berth in next week's A-10 Championship by virtue of VCU's loss to Charlotte. Dayton improved to 25-1, 13-0.
Lorreal Jones posted her sixth double-double of the season with 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Mallory Eggert registered 11 points and eight rebounds, including a career-high-tying seven offensive boards, and Desirae Ball tossed in 11 points. Jacy Bradley had eight points, five rebounds, a career-high nine assists and a career-high-tying four steals.
Dayton got 16 points from Andrea Hoover and 12 from Ally Malott. Malott and Olivia Applewhite tied for team-high honors with six rebounds apiece, but Saint Louis edged UD 40-38 on the boards. It marked only the fourth time this season that the Flyers, who came in leading the A-10 with a +8.2 rebounding margin, have been beaten on the glass.
Saint Louis tallied 42 points in the second half, tying for the Bills' most productive scoring half of the season. SLU recorded 42 points in the second half against non-conference foe Northern Iowa. Also, the 42 points are the third most Dayton has yielded in any half this year.
"I'm very proud of our team," head coach Lisa Stone said. "Our players hung in there against the No. 12 team in the nation and played very well for much of the game. We played some of our best offensive basketball in the second half and scored 42 points to show for it.
"When you combine how well we played in the win at Rhode Island last Sunday with some of the things we did tonight, I think it says that we're starting to play our best basketball as we head into our final regular-season game and the conference tournament," Stone said.
SLU trailed 33-19 at intermission and 54-34 with 9:27 to play, but twice the Billikens rallied to make a game of it.
A 16-4 spurt narrowed Dayton's 20-point advantage to eight. Five players scored during the run, which included 3-pointers by Webb and Ball in addition to layups by Eggert on consecutive possessions. Ball's trey made it 58-50 with 6:15 remaining.
After Dayton scored seven of the next nine points to gain a 65-52 advantage at the 3:50 mark, SLU rattled off seven straight to make it a two-possession game. Eggert sank one of two free throws and hit a layup after grabbing two offensive rebounds. Bradley followed with buckets on the next two possessions, and suddenly the Dayton lead was whittled to 65-59 with 1:27 to play.
However, Hoover hit a jumper and Cassie Sant sank two from the foul line, and with 49 seconds left, the Flyers were back in control, 69-59.
Webb tallied the Billikens' first six points, but an early 3-point barrage helped the Flyers jump out to a 32-15 lead. Dayton connected on its first four attempts from beyond the arc and totaled five treys in the first half.The Billikens conclude the regular season Sunday, March 3, at George Washington. Game time is 1 p.m. (CT).