"I was really hoping that she would have a good game," SLU coach Shimmy Gray-Miller said. "Last year when we played on national television, she did not play well at all. No one on the team did, but her in particular. I was very pleased that she had a good game and responded. I think she's a lot more mature this year than she was last year. I was hoping that she would come in calm and settled and she did. She's doing a really good job of letting the game come to her."
The game was broadcast on the CBS College Sports network, which gave viewers a glimpse of the conference's leading scorer in action.
Lisch, who entered the contest averaging 19.6 points per game, connected on eight of 14 shots, including three 3-pointers, and added five rebounds and four assists in 32 minutes.
Kemezys, the Billikens' 6-foot-4 center, had seven rebounds and two steals to go with her 17 points. Senior forward Heather King had 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds, including six offensive boards.
Lisch, Kemezys and King led the way as Saint Louis improved to 7-10 overall and 1-1 in conference play. The Billikens responded well after surrendering an 11-point lead with 10 minutes to play in a 73-68 loss to Dayton on Saturday night in their conference opener.
"We had to win," Gray-Miller said. "There was no if, ands or buts. There was no, well, we played really hard but fell just short. Nothing but to win; that was the key. We could not start our conference off 0-2 with two losses at home. I realize Dayton is a very talented team and were picked to finish higher than us and were 11-5 or 12-5 going into the game, but we dropped the ball. We should have won that game and we knew it.
"Yesterday's practice, I really wanted to see how our kids were gonna come out and practice and how they were going to respond. It was great and shows the growth in our program. … These kids came in yesterday mad. They were pissed and angry. We had a great practice yesterday. That shows the growth of the program and where we are right now. Our players know that it's not acceptable anymore to lose games that you should have won."
There were moments during Monday's game that looked like the Billikens might let Fordham (7-10, 0-2) hang around long enough for the Rams to stay in the game.
Fordham, which was picked by the coaches in the preseason to finish last in the 14-team league, has four starters back from last year's 0-29 team, but the Rams entered Monday's game winless in their four previous road games.
Saint Louis used a 12-0 run in the first half to turn a 6-4 deficit into a 16-6 lead. Lisch scored five points during that spurt and Kemezys capped off the run with a three-point play.
The Billikens led 35-31 at halftime after shooting 46.4 percent (13 of 28). Fordham made 46.9 percent of its shots in the first half (15 of 32), and was helped by hitting all three of its 3-point attempts.
Saint Louis U. took control of the game with a 15-0 run late in the second half, as the Rams went scoreless for more than nine minutes. That allowed the Billikens to turn a three-point game into a blowout.
"It was our defense," Gray-Miller said. "It was our defensive intensity. We had a timeout or media timeout and I really expressed my displeasure with the team. I just felt like we weren't being intense enough and we weren't focused. So they just came out and got after it."
Sophomore guard Kyara Weekes led Fordham with 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench, while freshman guard Becky Peters scored 12 points. The Rams shot just 33.3 percent (20 of 60) for the game and committed 20 turnovers.