Kemezys Leads SLU Women To Win

ST. LOUIS — In the season opener for both teams, Saint Louis held Southern Illinois to two points over the first 13 minutes of the game in charging out to a 22-2 lead en route to a 71-45 win Friday night at Chaifetz Arena.

The Billiken defense forced the Salukis into missing 14 of their first 15 shots of the game, and SIU committed 13 turnovers. After Teri Oliver scored at the 16:50 mark, the Salukis went scoreless for 9:50 as the Billikens reeled off 18 straight points.

Senior center Amanda Kemezys converted a 3-point play to begin the Billiken run. Junior Lauren Woods and freshman Jacy Bradley hit consecutive jumpers as the Billikens stretched the lead to 11-2. Woods hit one free throw and Bradley followed with a long 3-pointer from the top of the key. Kaelin Reed sank a short jumper in the lane as the Billikens built the advantage to 22-2.

Katrina Swingler finally ended the SIU scoring drought with a jumper with exactly seven minutes left in the first half. In the final minute, Janisha Gearlds sank a 3-pointer, and Ayriell Robinson hit a trey at the buzzer for a 38-11 Billiken lead at the break.

SLU hit 15 of 26 shots from the field in the first half, good for a 57.7 percent mark, while holding the Salukis to just 16 percent (four of 25).

Kemezys scored six of her game-high 21 points -- just one shy of tying her career high -- in the opening moments of the second half to give SLU its largest lead of the game. She made a layup on the Billikens' first possession, then later collected another layup and two free throws on consecutive possessions for a 44-12 Saint Louis cushion at the 16:48 mark

Eboni Crayton scored all 10 of her points in the second half to help Southern Illinois cut the SLU lead to 21 with 3:02 remaining, but that was as close as the Salukis would get.

Kemezys was seven of nine from the floor and seven of eight from the foul line, and she added 11 rebounds. Woods added 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting, and Katie Paganelli tallied 11 points. Gearlds ignited the offense with a career-high eight assists, while Robinson chipped in seven points and six rebounds in her SLU debut.

Swingler and Oliver joined Crayton with 10 points apiece. Stephany Neptune scored eight points, grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds and added five assists and a game-high four steals. LaToya Hambrick contributed seven rebounds.

The Bills shot 52 percent (26 of 50) for the game and earned a 40-36 edge on the boards. Southern Illinois finished at 26.4 percent (14 of 53).

The Billikens play their first road game of the season Wednesday, Nov. 18, when they travel to Springfield to take on Missouri State. Game time is 7:05 p.m.

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