"I never thought that we were really intense at all and that's actually what we addressed at halftime," Gray-Miller said. "I thought it was by the grace of God that we were up by one. Maybe it would have been better for us had we gone into the locker room down instead of up. It's kind of hard to tell the team that you're not working hard when you're up by one. They don't buy into that. They look at the score and they think Coach is crazy."
Charlotte (16-6, 7-1) controlled the game inside. The 49ers held a 40-26 advantage in points in the paint and out-rebounded Saint Louis (10-12, 4-3) by a 42-28 margin, which led to a 15-5 edge in second-chance points.
"They exploited our lack of athleticism at every position," Gray-Miller said. "I didn't feel like our intensity matched their intensity."
Junior guard Theresa Lisch scored 16 of her game-high 20 points in the first half. She knocked down seven of 13 shot attempts and made eight of nine free throws and added four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
"They really stepped it up and did a better job of defending her" in the second half, Gray-Miller said. "That's the problem I think with a lot of teams in their conference. They watch her on tape and I think they underestimate how good she is. And then in the second they do things different defensively."
After shooting 41.9 percent in the first half, the Billikens shot just 33.3 percent in the second half and 37.9 percent (22 of 58) for the game.
"It wasn't our offense," Gray-Miller said. "The problem was our rebounding and our lack of intensity on the defensive end. That was our problem. I don't have a problem with our offense."
The visiting 49ers shot 46.9 percent in the first half and 54.2 percent in the second half to finish at 50 percent (28 of 56) for the game.
Charlotte had four players in double figures. Aysha Jones led the way with 18 points and a game-high five assists. Danielle Burgin had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Erin Floyd and Ashley Spriggs had 10 points apiece, and Floyd also grabbed eight rebounds.
The Billikens got off to a quick start, scoring the first six points of the game to take an early lead.
But after that SLU went cold. The visiting 49ers reeled off a 13-0 run as the Billikens failed to score a point for more than six minutes.
Lisch stopped that scoreless stretch with a drive and basket and then proceeded to get the Billikens back in the game. After the scoring drought, Lisch scored the next 11 points for SLU and tied the score at 17-17 with a long 3-pointer with 7 minutes, 4 seconds left in the first half.
That set the stage for a back-and-forth remainder of the first half, which ended with SLU freshman guard Alisha Goodwin knocking down two free throws with 4.1 seconds left to give the Billikens a 34-33 halftime lead.
Lisch scored twice in the first 40 seconds of the second half, to give Saint Louis a 38-36 advantage, but that would be the last lead of the night for the Billikens.
Charlotte responded with a 19-5 run over the next eight minutes as SLU's offense went cold again and Lisch had trouble finding open looks at the basket. The 49ers led by 12, 55-43, after Burgin's basket inside with 11:23 remaining and never looked back.
The Billikens, who went into Tuesday's game with a two-game win streak, now head on the road for games at Temple (Feb. 8) and Duquesne (Feb. 11) before returning to Chaifetz Arena to face George Washington on Feb. 14.
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