Billikens defeat SEMO in home opener

ST. LOUIS – Courtney Webb and Desirae Ball scored 12 points apiece and Janisha Gearlds added 11 to power Saint Louis to a 54-45 victory over Southeast Missouri State Sunday afternoon in the Billikens’ home opener at Chaifetz Arena.

Lorreal Jones pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds, Kim Bee grabbed eight boards and Webb chipped in six for the Billikens (1-1), who earned a 45-38 advantage on the glass. Jacy Bradley had a game-high four assists.

Southeast Missouri State (0-2) got a game-high 16 points and six rebounds from Bailie Roberts. Brittany Harriel collected seven rebounds.

SLU was lifted by a sizeable edge at the foul line. The Billikens outscored the Redhawks 20-5 from the stripe, earning 30 free-throw attempts to SEMO’s 11.

Roberts registered six points in an 8-0 run that turned a 13-8 Saint Louis lead into a 16-13 SEMO advantage. She scored again with 2:43 left in the first half to make it 20-16 Redhawks, but Ball connected on two buckets and Bee sank two free throws to put the Bills on top 22-20 at the break.

SLU came out on fire in the second half, scoring the first 18 points to extend its run to 24-0 and build the lead to 40-20 at the 13:32 mark. Ball netted six points during the outburst, while Webb and Mallory Eggert tallied five apiece.

SEMO went on an 18-6 flurry and trailed by only eight, 46-38, when Allyson Bradshaw hit a 3-pointer with 5:26 to play. But Bradley nailed a trey less than a minute later to restore a double-digit SLU margin, and the Billikens held on for the victory.

Saint Louis hosts Missouri Wednesday, Nov. 16. Tip time at Chaifetz Arena is 7 p.m.

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