SLU Women Begin Practice

Coach Shimmy Gray-Miller began her sixth season in charge of the Saint Louis University basketball team with an early morning practice on Tuesday.

PRACTICE BEGINSSaint Louis women's basketball began preparation for the 2010-11 season Tuesday, Oct. 5, with a 6 a.m. practice. The Billikens welcome Missouri-St. Louis and Rockhurst, members of the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference, to Chaifetz Arena in exhibition action prior to the season opener. The UMSL game is slated for Thursday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m., while Rockhurst visits Sunday, Nov. 7, at 2 p.m. Saint Louis welcomes Wisconsin, a 2010 NCAA Tournament qualifier, to Chaifetz Arena for the regular-season opener Friday, Nov. 12, at 5 p.m. The Billikens-Badgers clash is the first half of a doubleheader that concludes with the Billiken men's basketball team opening its season against Austin Peay at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices for the doubleheader begin at $12 and can be purchased at the Billiken Ticket Office, by phone at (314) 977-4SLU or online at

EIGHT VETERANS RETURN – Sixth-year head coach Shimmy Gray-Miller welcomes back eight players from last year's team. Senior forward Lauren Woods (Swansea, Ill./Belleville East) leads the way after collecting Atlantic 10 Conference honorable mention plaudits and the A-10's Most Improved Player award last season. Woods averaged a team-high 14.1 points, good for sixth in the conference, and added 3.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists. Senior center Kathryn Hester (Conover, N.C./Newton-Conover) returns after averaging 6.3 points and 3.8 rebounds. Hester ranked fourth in the league (conference games only) with a .520 shooting mark. Guard Ayriell Robinson (Marrero, La./Spring {Texas}) and center Nicole Johnson (Southlake, Texas/Carroll) join Woods and Hester in the senior class. Robinson and Johnson saw action in 30 and 25 games, respectively, a year ago. Junior guard Janisha Gearlds (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook), a two-year starter, averaged 5.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists while recording 41 steals in 2009-10. Sophomore guard Jacy Bradley (Florence, Ky./Boone County) played in all 30 games as a rookie and averaged 6.0 points and 2.4 assists while netting 28 treys. Guard Ashley Hanlen (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph's) and forward Mallory Eggert (Oak Forest, Ill./Marian Catholic) saw action in 28 and 27 games, respectively, in their freshman campaigns.

SIX NEWCOMERS LOOK TO CONTRIBUTE – Five freshmen and a junior transfer make up the Bills' group of newcomers. Guard Desirae Ball (Cincinnati, Ohio/Ursuline) averaged 14 points last season and was a first-team All-State selection and the Girls Greater Cincinnati League Player of the Year, while guard Halee Castleman (Springdale, Ark./Har-ber) averaged 14 points and seven rebounds on her way to earning All-State laurels. Center Jenna Mueller (Clarence, Mo./South Shelby) was an All-State performer who averaged 14.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.4 steals a year ago, and forward Lorreal Jones (Detroit, Mich./Renaissance) collected Detroit Public Schools Player of the Year and All-State recognition while averaging 12 points and eight rebounds. Guard Abby Willis (Overland Park, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas) was an All-State performer who helped lead her team to a 23-2 record in 2009-10. Junior guard Courtney Webb (Benton Harbor, Mich./Benton Harbor) will sit out this season after transferring from DePaul, where she played in 17 games last season.

LAST SEASON – The Billikens posted an 11-19 overall record and tied for ninth in the Atlantic 10 Conference with a 5-9 ledger. Amanda Kemezys was named to the All-Conference second team, while Lauren Woods garnered A-10 honorable mention accolades and the league's Most Improved Player award.

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