After losing their season opener at home to George Mason in overtime the Saint Louis Billikens traveled to Richmond looking for their first conference win. In contrast VCU claimed their season opener on the road in a 74-66 victory over UMass. The Rams returned home looking to extend their winning streak to 7 consecutive contests and it resulted in a high energy contest between the teams and a home court disappointment at the Stu. The Billikens were able to snap the Rams streak despite the home court advantage.
In the first quarter VCU kicked it off with a lay up from Jessica Ogunnorin that was immediately answered by one from Jackie Kemph. SLU took the lead off a pair of free throws which were cancelled by a jumper from Keira Robinson. The Billikens had the largest lead of the 1st quarter after a long range shot from Aaliyah Covington (15-10) at 3:58. There were 5 ties and 4 lead changes with the Rams having the advantage when Adaeze Alaeze landed a jumper with :06 remaining (20-18).
The Rams went on a 8-1 run to kick off the second half of action extending their lead to 9. The Billikens got hot from beyond the arc sinking 4 from 3 point range in their battle to regain the lead which was a success after Maddison Gits landed her second from 3 point shot. The Rams went on a 7-0 run that was halted by the final Billiken shot when Sadie Stipanovich sank one from long range. The Rams retained control of the board leading 37-34 at the buzzer.
The third quarter held some challenges for the Rams. SLU owned the charity stripe going 12-16 from the foul line and the Rams went 6-7. Alaeze was assessed a technical foul. The Billikens added an additional 6 points long from beyond the arc. It was the first time SLU outscored VCU in a quarter (24-20) and it was enough for them to hold a 1 point margin despite Keira Robinson delivering a 3 pointer with :02 remaining. VCU was left trailing 58-57 at the buzzer.
The trouble continued for VCU in the final 10 minutes as SLU continued to fight for their first A-10 victory. Despite great pressure from the Ram defense the Billikens led by as much as 8 at 3:14 (71-63). VCU battled back to close the gap within 1 point off a lay up from Curteeona Brelove with :15 seconds in regulation. Four free throws later and the Billikens were able to snap the Rams win streak and claim their first conference victory with a final score of 77-72.
Alaeze led the team with 20 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and was perfect from the stripe with 6-6 on free throws. Robinson contributed 15 points including 2 shots from long range and 3 steals. Pegram added 12 and Brelove just missed a double double with 11 points and 9 rebounds. VCU moves to 12-3 and 1-1 in conference play. Their next opponent is St. Joe’s at home on January 10th.
Click below for fullscreen images